Just in time for the 2013 season, Rootstown High School's Robert C. Dunn Field is getting the first phase of a much-needed facelift.
Three years ago, the high school demolished its wooden visitor's bleachers and erected a more modern and stable aluminum structure.
The same is now being done for the field's home bleachers, which will also feature a new press box to replace the decades-old wooden structure that had begun to deteriorate.
Rootstown athletic director Keith Waesch said that the plan to replace the home bleachers and press box was a long time coming, however, outside factors delayed the ability to break ground on the project.
"This is really a project that the alumni association has been putting together for the past four to six years now," Waesch said. "They were raising money to renovate the stadium years ago, but the economy went belly-up and the needed funds came in very slowly."
Waesch said that the visitor's bleachers were in much worse shape than the home side and needed immediate attention. At the time, those bleachers cost the school's alumni association roughly $80,000.
By the end of the 2012-13 school year, it was the bleachers on the home side that could no longly safely stand.
Waesch said the $200,500 cost for the home bleachers, press box and also for a new set of bleachers for the high school band, is being paid for through the Rootstown School District's permanent improvement budget because of the lagging economy's impact on alumni association funding. The project has been handled by Schultz Industries and Sturdisteel Company.
The permanent improvement fund is intended for improvements to the school that will last five or more years, and Waesch said the district sees the home bleachers as an investment in the school's athletic programs.
"The alumni association has around $100,000 in its coffers, but that money will not be going to the stadium," Waesch said.
The plans for that money, as fundraising continues, will be for Rootstown to install a brand new all-weather surface track. The current timetable for its installation is still a couple of years out.
The Rovers track program has been unable to host home track meets for years because of the track's poor condition.
Facebook: Colin Harris, Record-Courier