Students design new seating for aging field, Sun Chronicle Article
BIDDEFORD – Two students at Biddeford’s Regional Center of Technology are designing new seating – dubbed the “Tiger Pride Terrace” – to replace old bleachers at the aging Waterhouse Field in Biddeford.
The terrace could be built this summer if Biddeford wins the national contest called the Ultimate Neighborhood Give Back Challenge.
Round 1 of online voting for Waterhouse Field to win the makeover and a day with Ty Pennington, host of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” ends on Monday, June 9.
According to the project guidelines, on June 17, the sponsor of the contest, Guaranteed Rate, will announce 50 semi-finalists that made it to Round 2. That round requires the contestants to submit a 1-to 3-minute video about the project’s impact on the community and what resources are available to complete the project.
Six finalists will be chosen July 15 and Guaranteed Rate will post the videos on the Ultimate Neighborhood Give Back Challenge website for another round of voting, which ends on July 29.
The grand prize winner will be announced on Aug. 1 and will receive up to $50,000 and a day with Pennington on the renovation site. Five other winners will each receive up to $10,000.
On Tuesday morning, Waterhouse Field was in second place with 1,091 votes, among more than 200 other community projects nationwide. The project is about 700 votes behind a project in Clyde, N.C., to turn an old prison into a homeless shelter, halfway house and soup kitchen.
Linda Verville, director of development for the Biddeford School Department, entered the field into the contest last month to help renovate the athletic facility, located at the corner of West and Prospect streets, which was constructed in 1929 with funds from Alfred Waterhouse and other local investors.
The field is a local icon. Once considered one of the state’s premier high school facilities, it now needs major repairs and upgrades, particularly its old bleachers, Verville said.
In addition, the school department would like to upgrade the aging buildings, build a garage for equipment, improve fencing, fix cracks in pavement, install turf, and more.
Students Quinn Campbell and Shaun Heyland, from Thornton Academy in Saco, are taking a class taught by Ed Driscoll, engineering, architecture and drafting instructor at the Biddeford Regional Center of Technology. In the class, Campbell and Heyland have designed new seating to replace the end-zone bleachers at the far side of Waterhouse Field. Unlike the deteriorating bleachers already on site, the students’ seating would be covered with a roof.
“We are still fine-tuning the plans and design,” said Campbell, at the center of technology on Monday.
“I am honored to be a part of the project,” Driscoll said. “The students are really doing a great job.”
The students began their drawings of the covered seating a couple of weeks ago. They are modeling their design partially after the Green Monster seating at Fenway Park, said Campbell. Measuring about 33 feet by 64 feet, the proposed seating has two upper levels with stools and a bar, and a bottom level with a row of six round or square tables, each with four seats.
“It will be one of a kind,” Campbell said, of what they are calling Tiger Pride Terrace.
According to Heyland, “What makes this design unique is that is has an area to eat down below, and two areas above it for seating. And it will be a better spot to watch the game. It’s like box-style seating, but for football,” he said.
According to Verville, designing the terrace came from multiple ideas.
Dennis Walton, athletic director and assistant principal at Biddeford High School, envisioned replacing the end-zone bleachers with a raised, patio-type structure with tables.
“I think that will add a nice touch,” said Walton of the students’ design. “Even though we are up against a project that is definitely heartfelt and compelling, I believe our project depicts the meaning of community in every sense of the word from beginning to end and beyond.”
Verville said she contacted officials at the New Balance Track and Field at the Newell Stadium in Gloucester, Mass., for insight on how they raised money for renovation of that facility.
“Part of their campaign included a ‘thousand for thousand’ program, whereby 1,000 individuals, groups, classes businesses, etc., donate $1,000,” she said. “I thought that was an interesting concept, but I wanted a way to recognized the donors for their generosity.”
At Waterhouse Field, the Tiger Pride Terrace design includes a granite back wall where financial supporters of the field would have their names engraved, “as a way to better utilize the end zone spectator space, while generating funds for future projects,” she said.
In order to raise additional revenue, the school department is considering naming rights of the Tiger Pride Terrace and exploring sponsorship opportunities, Verville said.
Through the years, it has been difficult to find the resources to maintain the field, said Verville. That’s where the Ultimate Neighborhood Give Back Challenge and the students’ design come in. And even if Waterhouse Field does not win the national contest in August, Verville said, the school department is going to explore other options to ensure that building the new Tiger Pride Terrace takes place.
“We just thought, here we have the opportunity to win some money for the field, let’s not squander it and be a one-hit wonder,” Verville said. “Let’s find a way to turn $50,000 into hundreds of thousands of dollars without reaching in the wallets of Biddeford residents, unless they’d like to donate, of course.”