Knox Field will be closed to the public beginning Wednesday night through Aug. 19, as the 15-year-old turf is replaced, according to a statement from the Greater Johnstown School District.
Equipment and materials for the turf project will be delivered this week, with staging to begin on Wednesday, and removal of the old turf scheduled to start Monday. The initial timeline of the project, part of a $2 million capital project approved by the community by a vote of 572-178 in May, called for the turf replacement to take place in late August, according to the release.
District officials were pleased to learn this week that work on the field could be started sooner than anticipated, which will have less of an impact on fall athletics, the statement said.
“The current turf is 15 years old and is definitely past its prime,” said David Wood, GJSD director of facilities, in the statement. “We’ve been careful to maintain and care for the turf to extend its life as much as possible, but the wear and tear is simply beyond repair at this point, and now has the potential to be a safety hazard.”
Assuming weather cooperates for the project to be completed on time, the district plans to re-open the track and field publicly on Aug. 20, according to the press release.
Knox Field currently is used for sports including football, field hockey, boys and girls soccer, lacrosse and track. The new-and-improved turf field will showcase a purple and gold Johnstown logo in the middle of the field, as well as brightly colored end zones featuring Johnstown branding.
“Knox Field has been a cornerstone of this community for nearly 100 years,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. William Crankshaw said in the release. “Knox Field is where our community comes to gather. It is a place of community pride and where we love to cheer on our Sir Bill and Lady Bill athletic teams and celebrate commencement every June. We are taking strides to improve and maintain our facilities, and are excited to reveal a refreshed and improved Knox Field that our community will be able to enjoy for many more years to come.”
The larger project is also to address several updates to the facilities at Knox, including resurfacing the track to fix weather damage and cracks and restoring/repairing rusted sections of the iron fence on the South Perry side of the field — scheduled to start next year, according to the district. The capital project will be paid for out of the district’s Construction Capital Reserve Fund and was not included as part of the 2022-23 budget, the release said.
“This project has been on the horizon for quite some time, which means we were able to put together a very conscientious and meticulous plan to implement and pay for the capital project,” Assistant Superintendent Alicia Koster added in the statement. “An investment in the maintenance and upkeep of our facilities is really an investment in the future stability of the District as a whole.”