Flannery Field receives more upgrades

HANNIBAL — The Switzerland of Ohio Schools Board of Education has demonstrated its commitment to athletics on many fronts in recent years.

It put that on full display again recently as new grandstands were installed recently at Flannery Field at River High School.

“Our board and administration knew it was kind of a safety issue,” River Athletics Director Mark Romick said. “We had put the bleachers at the top of our list for the next project. Our maintenance department did the best they could with them for years.”

The project began in the spring with pouring of new concrete and then Farnham Equipment, which is based in Columbus, took over in mid May and cleared out in mid June with the project completed.

“(The bleachers) really turned out great,” Romick said. “We have a great situation here. I believe this is really going to be add to the atmosphere and really makes this a great facility.”

The project at River completes the bleacher upgrade at all three Switzerland of Ohio Schools. Beallsville and Monroe Central have also recently undergone major facelifts at their facilities.

“(The need) really came to the forefront last year and our board is really putting a lot of money into both academics and athletics,” Romick said. ”

According to Romick, the stadium may have lost “a few seats” with the installation of the new bleachers, but the facility will still hold upwards of 2,500 people total with 1,700 of those seats on the home side of the stadium.

“Essentially, it’s the same amount of seats that we had,” Romick said. ”

The bleachers are just the latest upgrade at Flannery Field. This will be the third season in which the Pilots play on an artificial turf. They’ve recently built a new press box, installed new fencing and play clocks. Still, however, Romick and head football coach Mike Flannery have their sights set on more, too.

“I would say three years ago, when we stood in the stadium, that we would have imagined it look like it does now, but there are other things we’re looking at,” Romick explained. “The lighting and the fieldhouse are projects that are on our radar.”

Part of the fieldhouse was constructed in 1969 with the latest addition coming in the mid 80s.

“We’ve struggled through with it and our teams have made the best of it,” Romick said.

Along with the work at the football stadium, the R.L. Potts Gymnasium is also undergoing work this summer. New bleachers are being installed with stadium seating being placed on the lower level of the gym.