July 18, 2018
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  • Demolition of the old Severna Park High School has now given way to laying the groundwork and beginning construction on the new stadium, athletic fields and parking lot.
    Demolition of the old Severna Park High School has now given way to laying the groundwork and beginning construction on the new stadium, athletic fields and parking lot.

Community Keeps Watchful Eye On Continued Construction At SPHS

Dylan Roche
View Bio
October 4, 2017

Parking Lots And Athletic Fields Are Slated To Be Finished By March 2018

While most high school seniors cross their fingers for as many snow days as possible, Severna Park High School’s class of 2018 athletes are likely hoping for a milder winter. The construction management firm Oak Contracting is hard at work on the second phase of the new SPHS campus — including the parking lots and the athletic complex — and is projected to be done by March 1, 2018, making this year’s graduating class the first of generations to come to enjoy their senior spring sports season on the new fields.

“If everything falls into place, if we have a decent winter and they don’t run into any problems, we will open for spring sports here on campus,” said Principal Patrick Bathras, who added that students and teachers have acclimated to life in the new building with few problems.

Demolition of the old Severna Park High School began in January, shortly after students returned from winter break and began classes in the new building. In the months that followed, construction has progressed steadily, and passersby on Benfield may have recently noticed that the cement has been poured for the new track and the lights have been erected where the stadiums and fields will be.

As Bathras explained, the stadium will sit alongside Robinson Road and will house the main turf field, the field house, the ticket booth, the track and bleacher-style seating. Next to that will be the tennis courts separating the stadium from a second turf field. The athletic complex will also include a Bermuda field and another grass field. The current baseball and softball field will remain where it is. “The idea is that the whole athletic complex will be together, all those fields, all those areas, and separating that from the building will be the parking lots,” Bathras explained. The parking lots will include a full lot for buses — rather than a lane, as the old school had — and an additional 130 parking spots for senior students to augment the current 170 spots. This will take the number of student parking spots to what it originally was before construction on the new school began, thus alleviating some of the street parking that has overflowed into nearby residential neighborhoods.

While construction is underway, the SPHS athletic teams continue to practice at Kinder Farm Park, which they have from 2:30pm to 5:30pm before the youth leagues start. “Kinder has been a great partnership with Rec and Parks, Green Hornets and us,” Bathras said. “It’s a beautiful complex and we’ve enjoyed it.”

Though the school has found ways to overcome such challenges as lack of practice space and parking while construction continues, the residents of surrounding neighborhoods have faced a different set of problems. “The noise and dust and debris have been ongoing, but it’s a construction site and you can’t do a whole lot about that,” said George Foote, president of the Severna Gardens Improvement Association and the chair of the Greater Severna Park Council’s high school demolition committee. Foote’s bigger concern, however, is the stadium and field once it is complete.

“Touting the state-of-the-art lights and sound system, it’s going to be broadcast into Severna Forest, Evergreen Estates, West Severna Park, Erin Garth, Severna Gardens and maybe downstream in both directions, depending on how loud it is,” he said. “Those kinds of issues will be different from dust and heavy equipment traffic and that kind of stuff, but they’ll be lasting.”

Neither Bathras nor SPHS athletic director Dave Lanham expects the light and sound from the stadium will be a disruption to the surrounding communities. For example, the Musco Lighting that will be installed is specially designed to reduce light pollution. “The new stadium lighting shines down directly into the area you want it to be,” Lanham said. “These are so specific on where you want them to line up that we expect we’ll have it within the confines of the complex, not necessarily bleeding into the communities. We’re working hard to make sure that’s happening.”

Only time will tell whether the new fields and stadium end up being a disruption to those who live alongside the field, but Bathras expects the finished package — school building, parking lots and athletic complex — will prove to be an asset to Severna Park rather than a detriment. “It’s a state-of-the-art, 21st-century facility that will meet the needs of the community,” he said.

Those who have been keeping a watchful eye on the demolition throughout the past few months can expect the process to only gain momentum from here. “In November or December, you’ll really see it come to fruition,” Bathras observed. “In the next couple of months, it’s really going to take shape and start looking more and more complete.”

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