Westmoreland high school notebook: Jeannette’s McKee Stadium getting upgrades

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 | 8:58 PM

Jeannette’s longtime vision of having artificial turf at McKee Stadium is no longer a pipe dream.

Consider it as good as done.

The school board voted Monday by a unanimous, 8-0 vote to approve the installation of turf, and a new track, at the decades-long home of the Jayhawks.

McKee Stadium has had a natural grass playing surface since it opened in 1937. The track has long needed improvements.

The district assures this is not just a football-driven venture.

“The thing about it is, it is by no means just a football field,” Jeannette football coach Roy Hall said. “It will be for boys and girls soccer, the band and other sports, and recreational things like for the elementary students.”

Jeannette Superintendent Matt Jones said the turf project will cost $763,518.

“We are hopeful that the inclusion of some local school districts in the immediate area that are exploring similar projects will translate to significant savings for Jeannette,” Jones said.

Jones said there will be a pre-construction meeting next Monday to lay out a construction schedule. He said the project will begin no later than June 1 so the field can be ready for this fall sports season.

The installation is not expected to take longer than 60 days and track renovations, which will come at the tail end of the turf work, take about two weeks to complete.

“The McKee field renovation is part a greater district initiative to offer Jeannette students expanded opportunities in the classroom and extracurricular activities,” Jones said. “The district is in the midst of long-term planning and capital projects that support academics, athletics and the arts. We must continue to provide quality facilities and programming to our students to match the growth and development of the City of Jeannette.

“As the city continues to reinvent and rejuvenate itself, it is imperative the district keep pace as a primary partner in that transformation.”

Eleven of 18 schools in Westmoreland County have turf multipurpose fields. Teams that still play on grass are Burrell, Derry, Jeannette, Latrobe, Greensburg Central Catholic, Monessen and Ligonier Valley.

O’Donnell to SRU

Penn-Trafford senior two-sport athlete Stephanie O’Donnell committed to play volleyball at Slippery Rock. O’Donnell, a 6-foot-1 outside hitter and forward, was a key contributor on both sports.

O’Donnell said she also considered St. Francis (Pa.) for volleyball, while Chatham and Westminster liked her in both sports.

Lisbon offered

Caleb Lisbon, a junior running back and safety at Penn-Trafford, now has three Division I football opportunities with Albany offering this week.

Lisbon (6-foot, 195 pounds) rushed for 1,329 yards last season and scored 19 touchdowns. Albany joins Navy and Fordham.

Shaw to Lock Haven

Norwin junior Emily Shaw announced she will continue her soccer career at Lock Haven. She took her first offer, quickly accepting an opportunity to play for the Eagles.

Shaw is a midfielder. She has six career goals.

Vitale commits

Senior Anna Vitale, a four-year letterwinner for the Greensburg Central Catholic tennis team, will continue her playing career at John Carroll.

Roundball Classic

The annual Roundball Classic all-star basketball games will be Friday and Saturday at Geneva College in Beaver Falls.

There will be seven games over two days at Metheny Fieldhouse, including three on Friday: East vs. West at 6 p.m.; North vs. South at 7:30 p.m. and City League/Erie/Prep/District 6 vs. District 10 at 9 p.m.

On Saturday, two girls games include Class 6A/A vs. 3A/2A at 2 p.m., and 5A vs. 4A at 4 p.m. Those will be followed by two more boys games: 3A/2A vs. 4A/A at 6 p.m. and 5A vs. 6A at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 and good for all-day admission.

Westmoreland County boys selected to play include: Elijahwa Payne of Monessen and Geoff Helm of Greensburg Central Catholic (Class A), John Kerr of Derry (4A), A.J. Sharp of Jeannette (2A), Nick Leopold of Franklin Regional (5A), Kevin Stinelli of Penn-Trafford, Reed Fenton and Bryce Butler of Latrobe (6A), Cade Richter of Southmoreland and Logan Bitar of Burrell (East), Reed Hipps of Hempfield and Logan Liebdzinski or Norwin (North), Thomas Merante of Franklin Regional (South) and Asa Klimchock of The Kiski School and Marrek Paola of Ligonier Valley (Prep/District 6).

Local girls: Bella Skatell and Anna Eisaman of Greensburg C.C. (Class A), Jessica Kolesar and Emily Brozeski of Norwin (6A), Dymond Crawford of Jeannette (2A), Cali Konek of Franklin Regional (5A) and Lindsay Steeber of Belle Vernon, Megan Kallock of Greensburg Salem, Kaylen Sharrow of Burrell and Maggie Moore of Southmoreland (4A).

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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