It’s still a year away, but Havre de Grace’s James R. Harris Stadium will have a field house. Or two.
Depending on how the planning process goes, the layout of the complex could entail a two-building set-up, according to County Executive David Craig, who set aside roughly $1 million in his budget for the completion of the Harris Stadium project.
It’s all part of a vision Craig has to retrofit the county’s public schools with first-class stadium facilities over two consecutive years.
“What I plan on doing is you get the field one year, and the next year you get the field house and all the accoutrements that come with it,” Craig said in a recent interview with Patch. “It’s not about making kids play on a nice facility. It’s about safe facilities, usable facilities, cheaper facilities in the long run. And there’s security issues that go along with that, too. I said [for Havre de Grace] not just a visitor’s room, but they need one for the referees. That will be in my capital budget.”
Craig said C. Milton Wright’s stadium—one of the county’s soggiest playing surfaces during wet weather—will be refurbished with a turf field next year.
Currently, the stadiums at Havre de Grace, Bel Air, Edgewood, Harford Tech and North Harford have turf surfaces. Harford Community College also has a synthetic field.
At Havre de Grace, space is a concern. Lilly Run flows behind the grandstand, while Juniata Street flanks the other side of the stadium. One endzone is backed by the train track, and the other is bordered by the school’s tennis courts. There is room between the tennis courts and the stadium entrance, though there may be environmental concerns at that corner due to a small wetlands area between the tennis and basketball courts.
Currently, the Warriors and visiting teams use the school’s tech wing at halftime of football games. The concessions at the stadium are run out of sheds on the home sideline, and portable bathrooms are set up at the end zone nearest the main gate.
When deciding on how the complex would be finalized, Craig pointed to two models in the county.
“We looked at [Harford Tech’s field house], which is one building, and at Bel Air’s, which is two,” Craig said.
There is no immediate timeline for the project, but Craig said it would not be complete for the 2011 fall sports season.
“It would take a year to do all the work,” Craig said.
Craig initially announced his intentions to support the field house during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at halftime of the 2010 homecoming game. The Warriors unveiled the AstroTurf field this past season, before the football team went on a run to the state championship game.
The field house—or houses—would include concessions, spectator restrooms, locker rooms for home and away, and potentially a room for game officials.
The field opened with the visiting bleachers and track in place first, followed by the brick ticket booth and entrance, followed by the home grandstand and press box.