A New Era at Neshaminy
The sound of tennis balls bouncing and football pads crashing normally heard around Harry E. Franks Stadium has temporarily been replaced by the sound of front-end loaders, excavators and dump trucks as Neshaminy embarks on a wide-ranging project to upgrade the high school's athletic fields.
Neshaminy HS Athletic / Co-Curricular Director Lisa Pennington talks about the NHS field rennovation project
While the athletic fields at Neshaminy are legendary throughout the region for their prime location, panoramic views and a long tradition of hosting competitive excellence, after 65 years of use they were in constant need of repairs and upgrades.The grass fields suffered from drainage and wear issues, and the aging concrete bleachers in the stadium faced increasing maintenance issues every year. Games and practices were often delayed or canceled due to poor field conditions.
Practice field, which is being converted to a multi-sport turf field
As one part of a multi-year long-term improvement plan to upgrade or replace aging school buildings and facilities throughout the District to meet the needs of the next generation of students, a decision was made by the School Board to significantly upgrade the athletic fields at Neshaminy High School, and replace the stadium field, track, bleachers and utility buildings. The goal was to benefit every outdoor sport played at Neshaminy High School by installing state-of-the-art artificial turf fields, which will increase the availability of practice and playing times, reduce athlete injuries and stress, and provide a modern, exciting venue that the entire community can enjoy.
Upgrading the facilities also offers the possibility of outside athletic organizations renting the fields for tournaments or events, which could help defray maintenance costs in upcoming years.
Contractors started in June, 2022 by digging up the tennis courts, baseball field, softball field and practice field. The baseball dugouts were demolished and fences removed. Over the following summer and fall, storm water drainage pipes and retention basins which will manage the water flow from all the fields once the project were completed.
Water drainage system containers before installation under the tennis courts
Tennis court and practice field at the start of construction
With the end of the football season in October, work on Harry E. Franks stadium was started. The concrete bleachers and field at "The Ridge," dating back to the 1960's, were demolished. The track was removed and site preparation for a brand new turf field, 8-lane track and metal bleachers started.
Thanks to warmer and generally dry conditions over the winter, two new bright artificial turf baseball and softball fields were completed in time for the start of the spring sports season in March, 2023. By April, the new turf multi-purpose next to the stadium was being installed. This field is replacing the worn-out practice field at the same location formerly used mostly by the Neshaminy HS football team. With its own lighting and scoreboard, this field will allow multiple teams to enjoy playing on a quality surface, rain or shine, day or evening.
New multipurpose field with scoreboard and lights
April 2023 Update
As of the final week of April, the multipurpose field is mostly complete. The tennis court surface is in place and is waiting for paint and nets. At the stadium, the new bleachers have arrived and are being installed! This is a relatively fast process as the pieces arrive pre-fabricated and just need to be assembled on the concrete base (which has already been installed). The new video scoreboard is also being installed. The triple / long jump run has been installed and the other end zone track areas are being surfaced.
With some cooperation from Mother Nature, the stadium stands should be completed and the new turf field installed by the end of May, and available for use for the Neshaminy HS Commencement Ceremony in June. The new 8-lane track will be completed shortly after.
May, 2023 Update
The pre-fabricated press box was lifted on to the home side stands in one morning. Both home and visitor stands are complete and the installation of the turf field is under way. Asphalt has been placed under the new track (the rubber track surface will be added later). The multipurpose field has been completed, fenced and is ready for use!
June, 2023 Update
Thanks to cooperative weather and dedicated contractors, the stands and field at Harry E. Franks Stadium was ready to host a packed house for the Class of 2023 graduation ceremony on June 14! On a bright, warm and slightly windy evening, 692 Neshaminy seniors marched on to the new turf field to take their places for the ceremony. Both stands were filled to capacity with proud parents, relatives and friends. The new video scoreboard displayed a bright Class of 2023 motion graphic adding color and excitement to the ceremony.
Over the summer, the track will be installed over the asphalt ring and the home stands enclosed for equipment storage. Work on the new field house and restrooms will begin at at later date. The multipurpose field is complete and will be used over the summer for the Youth Football camp and practices for NHS fall sports teams.
VIDEO: From Homecoming to Graduation