Claymont breaks ground on stadium improvements

Claymont breaks ground on stadium improvements
Teri Stein

Collin Fawcett, Michelle Sproul and Austin Beckley break ground for the new Claymont Stadium improvement project.


Stadium upgrades and a new field house project kicked off on Saturday, Oct. 17 with a groundbreaking ceremony at Claymont Stadium in Uhrichsville. The project will leave Claymont students with a “top-notch” facility, according to Claymont City Schools superintendent Brian Rentsch.

The $4.8 million stadium renovation will include a new 19,000-square-foot fieldhouse that will hold a new and expanded weight room, golf practice swing area, softball and baseball batting cage, official locker room, trainer station, film and meeting room, visitor and home locker rooms, and a new and expanded wrestling room.

The current stadium, built in 1937, will be demolished. New seating will include 1,206 seats, 16 handicapped spots on the home side and 893 seats, and 12 handicapped spots on the visitors’ side. The press box will move from the visitors’ side to the home side.

Demolition is scheduled to start Nov. 16. “Once that’s done, Beaver (Constructors) will start working on the lines. We’re going to have to move some of the sewer and electrical lines on the home side, and then they’ll start setting poles for the bleachers before the first of the year,” Rentsch said.

Rentsch opened the ceremony on Saturday by thanking the school’s supporters, who helped pass a permanent improvement levy for the stadium earlier this year.

“Without your support we couldn’t be standing here today at our groundbreaking. Truly our kids are worth it,” Rentsch said.

Problems at the stadium have been ongoing for years. Rain water leaking into the locker rooms occurred when Austin Beckley, Claymont board president, played football there in the 1960s, and it is still an issue.

“I would like to say if anybody has been through our locker rooms, they are in really bad shape, and I’m very happy that we are going to have decent locker rooms for our kids and visiting teams,” Beckley said, adding the passage of the levy is a blessing for the Claymont community.

Also planned is a new concession stand and new restrooms. The levy funds also will be used to pay for a new metal roof for the high school.

Rentsch said the quest for updates to the stadium began years ago, but this year the timing was right.

Justin Leonard of Beaver Constructors gave the crowd an update on the time line for construction. He announced Troy McMath, a Claymont graduate who lives in the Twin Cities area, will be the main superintendent of the project for the company.

Leonard reported the design provided by Diversified Engineering is being finalized, and they are starting fabrication on the metal that will be used for the field house.

“Once the demolition is complete, we look forward to get started out here next month. The goal is to have everything wrapped up by August of 2021. We’re definitely looking forward to being part of this project, and we want to be on time and on budget for everyone,” Leonard said.

The field house building should be totally enclosed by April, and then the company will work on getting the interior complete. Site improvements will be completed including new asphalt, new concrete and new fencing around the entire stadium.

Claymont Schools treasurer Kim Beckley thanked many individuals and volunteers who have contributed to the additional phase-three project at the stadium, which includes field turf and expanding the track to eight lanes. She reported $280,000 of the $2 million needed has been raised. Contributions have been received from the Reeves Foundation, Rosenberry Foundation, Dennison Rotary and the First National Bank of Dennison, in addition to many individuals.

Martha Campbell is spearheading the fundraising efforts for phase three.

“I do think this is a very important project,” Campbell said of the stadium improvements. “We are very excited that the citizens of this community felt that it was important to do this project. I know that when I was a student — and I graduated years ago — that I felt back at that time the locker rooms needed to be replaced. I’m very glad that we are able to move forward with this project.”

Although the coronavirus has slowed fundraising efforts, watch for new opportunities to support the project soon. In the meantime donations can be made online at the school’s website under Stadium Project.

“We are very grateful for the donations that we have received so far,” Campbell said.

To build on the excitement of the new project, the Claymont cheerleaders led a couple of cheers to end the program.

Rentsch is already looking forward to having an open house. “When it’s all done, everybody will want to take a look at what it looks like inside,” he said.

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