Beallsville football field gets new bleachers, press box

BEALLSVILLE — Beallsville’s football field currently looks more like a construction zone than a red zone.

Workers are scattered all over the complex. From end zone to end zone, men with dried up cement on their clothes from head to toe toiling diligently on a plethora of projects that have removed football equipment from the premises like sleds and the like in exchange for things like bulldozers and dump trucks.

Casey Tolzda said that will all change by Sept. 6. That’s when the Blue Devils open the home portion of its schedule vs. Frontier.

“It’s gonna look great when we get it all done,” remarked Tolzda, the school’s principal.

Tolzda arrived from the school to check out the progress of the work, but he actually can do that from home. He and his wife, Alyssa, live next door to the complex, which abuts the former school and the village’s cemetery.

In fact, the school had to get permission from the resting place to perform one of the stadium projects — the press box — as its being replaced and sneaks onto that property.

That is just one of the many improvements being wrapped up in a continuing effort to make, what Tolzda believes, the Beallsville complex one of the best in the area.

“When you think of where we were and how far we’ve come as a district in a few years,” he said.

“At one point, we didn’t know if there’d be a Beallsville School, and now the district is really investing in the school. We thank the school board for that.”

The Switzerland of Ohio School District has made a concerted effort during the past few years to make permanent improvements in athletic facilities at all three of its schools — Beallsville, River and Monroe Central.

“The superintendent asked us (principals) what were our pressing needs in terms of permanent improvements,” Tolzda explained. “For us, with (this field) being district property and so many things happening down here, and with the fieldhouse, all of our athletes use that.”

The Delmas Moore Fieldhouse, which opened last year, was named for the school’s current athletic director.

“The field here us used by our youth up through high school,” Tolzda said. “We thought we need to invest in it and make it something that’s worthwhile.”

Stadium improvements actually began last year, with the construction of the aforementioned fieldhouse, which replaced a large trailer. Also, a new scoreboard was installed.

As for this year, new bleachers are the centerpiece of improvements.

“We were really concerned about the safety of the former ones,” Tolzda said. “For me, that was something that we all agreed on.”

Along with that, the old press box was torn down and a new state-of-the art one is being constructed using concrete blocks rather than wood.

“We had to repaint it every year,” Tolzda said of the former press box, “and there were boards missing. That was a safety issue, too.”

He noted Beallsville grad Scott Hagan, also known as “The Barn Artist,” will paint the press box.

In addition, improvements are being made to the current visiting bleachers.

“We’re going to life those up with stilts or risers,” Tolzda explained. “Visiting fans have complained over the years that they can’t see over the players.”

The fence that surrounds the stadium is also seeing changes. Blue covering that had adorned the fence is being removed — slowly, but surely.

“It’s been in there 17 years,” Tolzda said. “What it’s doing is the wind is catching it and it’s causing the fence to fall over.”

Now, all of this work has created some “controlled chaos” at the site. With some workers also performing jobs at other district schools (i.e. bleacher companies), Tolzda said it has been a chore organizing things.

“There’s so many different moving parts,” he said. “You’re talking to one person about a projects and then you have to go another person at this time,

“Jason Clutter, the district’s maintenance supervisor … he’s had to work at River and Monroe Central, too. So, he’s coordinated all this. My hat’s off to him.”

Tolzda also credited the workers themselves, who he said have worked hard to make sure the project is done on time.

“It’s time sensitive work,” he said. “It’s all local people who’ve done the work, really. That was to our advantage, really, because they were all here and ready to go when we needed them.”