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Amsterdam hoping to get field renovations underway soon

Amsterdam hoping to get field renovations underway soon

Once bidding is complete, construction is scheduled to leave complex unavailable for games through the fall season
Amsterdam hoping to get field renovations underway soon
The turf field at Wilbur H. Lynch Literacy Academy is scheduled for a massive renovation project.
Photographer: Erica Miller

Plans are still on track for renovations to the turf field at Amsterdam’s Wilbur H. Lynch Literacy Academy, though the timeframe for the project still means Amsterdam teams likely won’t be able to play games at the field until the spring of 2021.

In a phone interview Thursday, Greater Amsterdam School District athletic director Steve Nolan said the bidding process for the new multi-purpose building at the field — which would include new bathrooms and a concession facility — is underway.

“The bids were opened a few weeks ago, the general contractor bid I think was a little bit over what they had estimated,” Nolan said. “As far as when they’re going to get started, I’m not sure, but I know that they’re still planning to get in there some time in April.”

That multi-purpose building and upgrades to the facility’s handicap accessibility need to be constructed before state money can be released for renovations to the field, which are part of a $48.9 million capital project that was approved by district voters in March 2016.

Voters approved using some of the district’s fund balance to construct the building as part of GASD’s 2019-20 budget, when it was estimated at $835,000.

Nolan said that were it a matter of simply replacing the worn-down turf playing surface at Lynch, which has been in place for more than 15 years, would be a job that could be done as “a quick, three-week project.”

Instead, the entire field complex will be getting a major facelift that will take months, with the installation of a new turf surface as the final step. 

Improvements include bleachers that will be put into the concrete seating area on the home side of the field, a blacktop walkway all around the facility and complete resurfacing of the tennis and basketball courts at the top of the complex.

“It’s going to look a lot different than it does now,” Nolan said. “It’s going to pop with freshness.”

If the project stays under budget, Nolan said there are also plans to upgrade the Four Diamonds fields with chain-link dugouts and more, to make the facility able to host four games at once.

Schools are currently out of session until at least April 15 as part of government mandates to fight the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the status of spring sports across the state in question. Section II has canceled all games and scrimmages through April 19.

Should there be a spring sports season, the only Amsterdam teams that use the Lynch turf at that time of year are boys’ and girls’ lacrosse. Those teams already had a plan in place for their home games this spring, which would be played at Broadalbin-Perth following a lacrosse merger between the two districts.

“That was a perfect scenario, where we merged with a school with a turf field that was lined for lacrosse already,” Nolan said. “Everything was going ahead perfectly, and then this pandemic issue threw a curveball at us.”

The fall is a different story.

With the field likely not available until late November at the earliest, Nolan said that Amsterdam’s boys’ and girls’ soccer teams that usually play at Lynch would instead probably be faced with “a lot of away games” this fall.

As far as Amsterdam football is concerned, Nolan said he reached out to the Section II football committee and asked that the Rugged Rams only be scheduled with “the absolute minimum number of home games” for the upcoming varsity season.

That would leave Nolan needing to find a couple of alternate sites to serve as potential home fields.

“I’ve asked them to limit it to two, we’ll probably get scheduled for three because that’s [usually] the minimum,” Nolan said. “Hopefully, they’ll get them to us next week and then I can start working on where we would play the games for homecoming and senior night.”

Reach Adam Shinder at [email protected] or @Adam_Shinder on Twitter.

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