Bedford Football Stadium gets a makeover

Bedford Public Schools is planning comprehensive upgrades to Bedford Community Stadium in two phases over the next 16 months.

The first phase is scheduled to begin this summer, according to a press release issued by the school district.

Currently, the district operates and maintains two stadiums: Bedford Community Stadium and Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium next to Indian Creek.

As both stadiums are currently set up, there are expense and security issues that the district was looking to address. Challenges with the soccer/lacrosse stadium include lack of functional stadium lighting limiting playing time during available daylight hours, spectator bleachers requiring frequent and ongoing repair/maintenance, and lack of facilities to proximity allowing students and spectators to take refuge in case of bad weather. at events.

A solution to many of these issues would be to move all events out of this facility and hold them all at Bedford Community Stadium instead. Pupils and spectators would appreciate the larger home and visitor stands with a safer design, improved access/parking, easy access to school buildings as shelter from the weather, and greater visibility within the school community. Relocating soccer and lacrosse events would eliminate the need for costly upgrades and ongoing maintenance at their current location.

Adding the soccer and lacrosse programs to the Bedford Community Stadium schedule would require upgrades to accommodate the additional usage and lighting requirements specific to new groups using it.

The current natural grass pitch would not be able to withstand the additional wear and tear and would require a full replacement schedule to be adopted. The district currently spends an average of $35,000 on irrigation, natural turf maintenance/repair, and mowing services each year for the Bedford Community Stadium alone. A new irrigation well is required to continue to maintain the current grass field.

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The stadium’s current lighting system is now 25 years old. The existing system of 96 metal halide bulbs is outdated and expensive to operate, maintain and replace. The district currently operates on a semi-annual cycle to replace burned out bulbs with an average cost of $7,500 per cycle. Additionally, due to the twisting of the existing wooden poles, there is an additional cost to realign the existing light bars to ensure proper light levels. That’s not enough to meet the 50 foot candle minimum required by high school athletics to play lacrosse at night.

After evaluating the pros and cons of each venue and the associated costs, it was recommended that Bedford Community Stadium be upgraded as the central venue for all events held at the two current locations.

To accommodate the increased use of the Bedford Community Stadium, the school board recently approved two contracts at its April and May board meetings.

The first contract was awarded to the Maumee Bay Turf Center for the purchase and installation of new turf on the course. The project will include the installation of an SSI football/soccer goal system, end zone pylons, chains, downhill marker and corner kick flags specially adapted for use with synthetic turf. Sweeping and grooming units and training are included in the cost. The high jump area will be relocated and is included in the scope of this project. Funds for this $750,000 purchase will come from the Capital Maintenance Fund and will be offset annually by the elimination of current maintenance costs and the need to make major investments in aging equipment at both facilities.

The second contract was for lighting upgrade needs. Qualite Sports Lighting, of Hillsdale, MI, has been awarded the contract to install a Q-LED GameChanger Gen. 3 on new galvanized poles for $264,646.00. The system will provide 52 foot candles average coverage of the field (including end zones) and is backed by a full 25 year warranty. All funds for the purchase and installation of this stadium lighting project will come from the District’s energy efficiency rebate checks from Consumers Energy and Michigan Gas.

The district will also benefit from operational savings thanks to the new lighting system. The LED system uses 88.4 KW less than the current metal halide lighting system. Over the 25-year lifespan of the Qualite installation, the reduction in energy consumption and the elimination of maintenance costs associated with current lighting, the district estimates a savings of over $245,000.

On-field turf and lighting systems will be installed in the summer of 2022. This will make Bedford Community Stadium functional for all student sporting events for the 2022-23 school year as the first phase of modernization of the stadium.

Donations and sponsorship agreements will fund a second phase, scheduled for summer 2023, to make additional improvements to Bedford Community Stadium. The lack of toilets, a training room with privacy for athlete injury assessment and dedicated space for referees to use will be addressed. The need to repair/replace damaged concrete and walls was also considered in this phase of the projects.

A firm of architects will be hired to carry out the design work and the plans. (All construction plans must be approved by the state before construction can begin.) This phase of the project will include:

● Construction of a new main entrance that would house concessions, ticketing, technology and storage where the stadium’s east wall currently stands.

● Conversion of the current home/visitor concession stand at the east end of the stadium into a toilet.

● Conversion of the current west end concession stand into a training room/officiating room. The cost of these projects, including site work and fees, is estimated at $1,182,554.

Funding for the second phase of stadium improvements will come in the form of a collaboration between Bedford Public Schools, local business partnerships, community donations and community organizations. Bedford Public Schools has secured three funding commitments totaling $1,352,000.00. These agreements require Bedford Public Schools to fund projects upfront. However, the district will recover all of its initial funding over the next ten years in the form of annual payments from three separate entities:

The John C. Bates Foundation/Heidtman Steel Products, Inc. will donate a total of $500,000. Their generosity was not dependent on any naming rights as they want the stadium to remain known as the Bedford Community Stadium. The Bates family, owners of local Heidtman Steel Products, have long supported BPS. The family is made up of current and former Bedford residents, business owners, graduates, and with a new generation of family members currently frequenting the district, they just wanted to make sure these improvements could be completed.

Grogan’s Towne Chrysler agreed to stay on as naming sponsor for 10 years with a total investment of $360,000. We look forward to celebrating many victories in football, soccer, lacrosse and track and field at Grogan’s Towne Field. Grogan’s Towne Chrysler was one of the original sponsors for the construction of the community stadium and their continued support is essential to the success of the project.

Forest View is a new naming sponsor with an investment of $360,000 over 10 years. Forest View has been a strong supporter of BPS for years and now, with this new deal in place, families will be able to enjoy a new kind of experience inside the community stadium.

The Alumni Association and Mule Muscle have been fundraising for many years to help make stadium washrooms a reality. The Alumni Association contributes $82,000 and Mule Muscle adds another $50,000. Without the continued support and efforts of the individuals who make up these important groups, Bedford Public Schools would not be in the position we are in today.

Bedford Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Carl Shultz is thrilled to see this project unfold with the support of the community.

“Bedford Public Schools is extremely grateful for the generosity of these partners who make this phase possible,” Shultz said in a statement. “The District looks forward to building on the legacy that our community members worked so hard to create with the original construction of the stadium. Their efforts, preserved and commemorated along the east wall of the stadium, will be relocated to a new construction.

“I hope we can build on this positive momentum and would be happy to discuss any future collaboration on projects in other areas. Passionate supporters of our programs have the ability to have a huge impact on our students. , our schools and our community for many years to come.”

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