Pekin Community High School’s Memorial Stadium is getting a makeover.
The grass field was improved earlier this summer. After the football season, the press box will be replaced.
“Great for the stadium, great for the image of our school,” said Pekin athletics director Barry Gurney about the work at the iconic stadium that seats 10,400 and was dedicated Sept. 10, 1948.
Low bidder Krumholz Brothers Landscaping of Peoria did the field improvements for $82,500.
Workers replaced the field’s irrigation system, repaired the crown of the field, dressed and seeded the field, and added piping to the inside of the track that can be used for future electrical outlets in the most extensive field improvement project at the stadium since 1985.
“Areas of the field that had dips and ridges were reshaped and dirt filled in to level them out,” said Tim Bonnette, the high school’s director of buildings and grounds.
Pekin football coach Doug Nutter is happy about the field improvements.
“Sometimes when it rained hard, the water would pool and kill the grass,” he said.
The field should be ready for football practice next month.
There was some grumbling from community members earlier this month when the field was declared off-limits to spectators for the city’s July 4 fireworks show, but high school officials had no choice but to have the field work done during the summer.
Alllied Construction Services was the low bidder for the press box project at $207,610. The Peoria company was the only bidder that offered to build the new press box on site. The other two bids were more than $340,000.
The new press box will have a different look than the current press box. It will be horizontal instead of vertical, all on one level with several rooms, much like the new press boxes at Morton High School’s Carper Field and Washington Community High School’s Babcook Field.
At least one row of bleachers at Memorial Stadium will be removed for the new press box.
Memorial Stadium did not have a press box when it opened 71 years ago. It’s believed the current press box was installed in the 1980’s with additions added through the years.
“The old press box is past its prime and needs to be demolished,” said Pekin Superintendent Danielle Owens.
“Age and condition,” Gurvey said when asked why the old press box needs to go.
The new press box should be installed and ready for use next spring during track season.
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.