Constructions and renovations transform Neshaminy’s campus

Nath Hoff, Historian

After 60 years of wear and tear, the athletic complexes of Neshaminy High School are undergoing highly anticipated renovations and construction to update fields across the campus. Alongside the larger Harry E. Franks Stadium complex, the tennis courts as well as the baseball, softball, soccer, and football practice fields are being refurbished, each with artificial turf replacing the grass.
The stadium will receive a complete overhaul, with newly designed turf to accommodate the various sports at NHS, including the installation of new bleachers and updates to the field house, concession stand, and bathrooms.
The tennis courts will be expanded from six to eight full courts, properly facing north and south to mitigate the discomfort of bright sunlight obstructing the vision of both players and spectators.
The space commonly known as the football practice area will be transformed into a multi-purpose field for multiple sports and the band to utilize, equipped with brand-new bleachers.
Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Lisa Pennington shared a tentative schedule with the Playwickian.
“[By] the end of November, we should start to see the completion of some of the fields: the baseball field will be the first to be completed; the practice football field, which will now be a multi-purpose field and softball fields will be completed and ready for the spring seasons. The stadium project is slated to begin the beginning of December, with everything coming down in the stadium, from the field house to the bleachers…and then, [the stadium] will start to be rebuilt,” she stated. “The stadium will not be available for spring sports. We’re hoping it will be available for graduation, if it’s usable.”
The School Board has been working tirelessly with administration, the hired construction company, PENNDOT, and Middletown Township, planning and obtaining permits to move the construction forward. Where there have been delays and hiccups, everyone has been working hard to resolve them for the benefit of the student body.
“Honestly, I’m just excited that we’re making it better for our students,” she said. “That’s what this is about… when is the next time we’re going to have this opportunity to take this to another level? Let’s do it right this time.”
Inclement weather, which continues to delay many events and practices for all outdoor activities, has elevated the necessity of renovations. Any student involved in these activities is familiar with postponed and canceled events due to muddy fields. With artificial turf, all teams will be able to play, rain or shine.
Once the project is complete, they can utilize and enjoy the new practice spaces currently limited due to construction.
Pennington has been working with coaches and directors to fit all teams onto the available fields, and with more space, administration will sigh with relief as they will no longer have to juggle and swap teams around according to the availability of the fields and the necessity of events.
“Coaches and my co-curriculars give me what they need, and [right] now, we just share it between the gyms and the stadium when we can… Now, there’ll be a lot more areas to [practice] on, which will be better for everybody,” Pennington asserts. “Maybe you don’t have to come in at night; you can actually go after school and have your evenings to yourself now.”
Newer fields will bring more opportunities for all students to get involved. Pennington has raised the possibility of intramural activities and new clubs utilizing the newly renovated spaces, allowing more students to show their school spirit and have fun with each other. Those who are not as athletic or involved in sports will now have the opportunity to utilize this space previously limited to only sports teams.
Opportunities to rent and use the facilities will be open to the community, with chances to host athletic and musical events in the complexes, prompting more community involvement.
“It’s going to bring a whole new light to the community,” Pennington said.
Organizations not associated with NHS actively use our facilities, and with the new fields, even more may join. The opportunities provided by these renovations will help NHS continue to be a pillar of the community for activities and events, bringing in students and parents outside of the district to Neshaminy’s complexes.
“It’s going to be a boost for the community, for the students, and for the whole population, and that’s what you want,” Pennington reiterated. “We want to keep growing and be the best we can be.”