Multi-million dollar capital improvement projects in at both the Vernon Verona Sherrill and Central Valley School Districts are nearing completion and neither school can wait to hit the turf.
“This is going to be an outstanding facility, we can’t wait for it to be done” newly appointed V-V-S Athletic Director Randy Thomas said, with excavators and bulldozers rumbling behind him, adding “There is definitely a buzz around the whole community”.
The V-V-S athletic complex improvements are part of a 27.2 million dollar package of renovations, construction and improvements going on at all schools in the district this year.
The Red Devils sports teams will now enjoy a 255 x 390 multi-sport artificial turf, with stadium lighting, new spectator seating, press facilities and a brand new all-weather track and field venue with a freshly laid sod infield. “With facilities like these, our central location in New York State and the close proximity to the Thruway, we hope to attract State level competitions here in the future”, Randy Thomas explained.
Before this upcoming season, V-V-S was the only school in the Tri-Valley League without stadium lighting and one of only three without artificial turf for its football, soccer, field hockey and lacrosse teams. With renovations also underway at Central Valley Academy, the last two TVL schools not utilizing artificial turf are Utica Notre Dame and Oneida.
Thomas, a 20 year faculty member and coach of multiple sports teams at V-V-S, most recently Girl’s Varsity Tennis and Girl’s Varsity Basketball, was hired in June to succeed Duane Weimer (now the Athletic Director at Victor CSD near Rochester) as the Red Devils Athletic Director .
“This is my absolute dream job” said Thomas, adding “As I told the hiring committee, preparing for the interview was more difficult for me than proposing to my wife (Cindy, a Mathematics Teacher at V-V-S), but it sure was worth it”.
Randy Cossette, current Red Devils boy’s basketball coach and V-V-S football alum, was also on hand taking in the sights and sounds of the construction going on. “These facilities are going to be fantastic, the kids are excited, the community is excited, we’re all excited to have them, we’re very fortunate” Cossette said, adding “we also hope that having these wonderful places to play will encourage the younger students to get more involved in our sports programs”.
V-V-S will host rival Oneida on October 12th at 7 pm in the first ever home Red Devils football night game. That game will be broadcast live on Midyorksportsreport.com and ESPN Radio Utica – Rome.
Meanwhile, over at Central Valley Academy in Ilion, construction of a turf athletic surface at Diss Memorial Field is just about finished. The new turf is just a fraction of an ongoing 73.6 million dollar capital project to improve educational facilities throughout the CVA District.
The Thunder football, soccer and field hockey teams will christen their new facilities on Friday, September 7th at 7:00 p.m. when the football team hosts perennial powerhouse Cazenovia for its home opener.
The Utica City School District will also ask taxpayers in Utica to fund a 15 million dollar renovation of some of its athletic fields, including D’Allesandro Stadium at Proctor High School, which was designed and built without public restrooms or locker rooms for teams. The artificial turf at D’Allesandro is also at least five years past its effective life span.
A public vote on the Utica City School District proposal will take place on August 14th.