The Union City sports complex will be getting a facelift in the form of a new building for a concession stand, restroom and ticket room; and four new dugouts for the baseball and softball fields.
The Union City School Board, during its Feb.11 meeting, approved BlueScope Construction to prepare drawings and specifications for the design build general construction performed by BlueScope Construction of a concession stand building at the athletic complex. The motion included thereafter advertising for sealed bids for plumbing and electrical work as may be necessary or required based upon specifications of the project.
A group of Union City residents have formed the nonprofit Union City Sports Complex Committee (UCSCC) in an effort to bring positive transformation to the school’s outdoor sports complex. The group had identified the building that houses the concession stand, restrooms and ticket room as a focal point. In the fall of 2019, the building was deemed unsafe. The restrooms are unusable due to plumbing problems.
The UCSCC, headed by Union City alumni Kyle Blakeslee, has been working with the Union City Area School District administration and school board, as well as fundraising, in an effort to finance improvements to the sports complex.
The committee had started pursuing building plans and costs for the concession stand in early 2020.
“We hoped to raise the funds required for the construction, but this proved impractical with the impact of the pandemic,” Blakeslee said. “We are so thankful the school district has taken the initiative to address this critical building project. Whether it’s sponsored by the school district or the Union City Sports Complex Committee, the real winners are our students and community.”
The board had discussed the project at length during its Feb. 4 committee-of-the-whole meeting.
Dan Burek, of Construction Services of PA, and Paul Beuttel, of BlueScope Construction, attended the committee-of-the-whole meeting. BlueScope will oversee the project, and Burek's company works with them through a Sourcewell agreement, which is a cooperative purchasing agreement.
This will be the first major investment in the outdoor sports complex since the concession building was constructed in 1986. The cost of the new building is about $586,000.
During the committee-of-the-whole meeting, district Superintendent Matthew Bennett asked if funds were available from recent renovations at the Union City Middle-High School and Administration Office. District Business Manager Tara Lineman said there is $600,000 left in the construction fund from the renovations project.
Bennett said, once the board approved moving forward with the project and approves bids as they come in, and the weather cooperates, the district would be looking at a completion date of Aug. 27.
In another motion, the board approved the License and Donation Agreement with the UCSCC, which agrees to donate time, labor, materials and construction related to the athletic complex dugouts area to the district. The motion was pending approval by the Union City Area School District Foundation and contractors, Certificate of Insurance and Indemnification Addendum.
The UCSCC plans to pay for and construct two dugouts at the baseball field and two at the softball field.
The district approved the dugouts at a cost not to exceed $75,000.
Blakeslee said the UCSC committee has raised about $80,000 since its inception in early 2020. This includes a recent anonymous donation of $50,000 as a memorial fund for Raymond and Angela Gocal.
The committee also received nearly $12,000 from Country Fair, mostly through its Pump 4 Sports fundraiser last summer and fall, which was matched by the Union City Community Foundation for an additional $10,000. The UCSCC has received a variety of smaller, yet generous, donations from several other Union City organizations and alumni for just over $8,000.
“We are so thankful for all who have stepped up to support of school’s sports complex project. This is certainly a testament to the passion of our Union City community and its faithful devotion to our school and its student athletes,” Blakeslee said. “We will use these funds initially for construction of four new dugouts for the softball and baseball fields, with construction expected to start after the spring season.
“We expect the cost to be about $60,000, although we budgeted $75,000 in case there are any unforeseen costs. The dugouts will be dedicated to the memory of Raymond and Angela Gocal.”
Blakeslee said, as for the UCSCC, they are just getting started.
“With one big win coming (dugouts), we are looking toward our next project, which will likely be replacement of the press box,” Blakeslee said. “We plan to install the new and nicer press box on what is currently the visitor bleachers so it can serve the dual purpose of supporting football and track events along with baseball and softball games.
“We are in the process of quoting the project so we can formally kick off our fundraising.”
Bennett expressed thanks to members of the UCSCC for their commitment to the sports complex project.
“These people have really worked and generously donated their time over the last year,” Bennett said.
Blakeslee said anyone interested in more information should reach out him or visit the UCSCC website at unioncitysportscomplex.com.
Board members who approved the motions for the concession stand building and the dugouts are George Trauner, Lori Lewis, Blain Blakeslee, Stephen Gilbert, Brian Gregor, Douglas Hopson, Dr. Barbara Miller, David Robinson and Kimberle Thomas.