Beau Dusz
Ohio.com correspondent


After a public hearing on the issue, the Wadsworth Planning Commission, in a special session Tuesday approved a plan to improve Art Wright Stadium on Grandview Avenue.



At the hearing, a neighbor of the stadium, Linda Knotts, said she was concerned she would no longer be able to see the game from her property. The commission assured her the improvements were not expected to have that impact. Commissioner Andy Graham said it was the first time someone did not want a buffer between the field and their property.



Plans call for the field of the stadium to be enlarged so it can accommodate soccer as well as football. Soccer requires a wider field than football.



In addition, the field is to be covered with an artificial surface and a new drainage system installed to allow the field to drain more efficiently.



The visitor's bleachers, which now accommodate 1,200, will be demolished and new aluminum bleachers installed to increase the seating to 2,500. The home seating accommodates up to 4,500, according to a spokesman for the architects Braun & Steidl. A report presented to the commission by the school system indicates average attendance at football games is 3,320 with a game in 2010 against Medina having an attendance of 5,195.



The commission recommended a method be used to reduce the glare from the new aluminum bleachers. Graham suggested a school logo as a way of reducing that glare.



Commissioner Walt Gairing suggested the steps onto the field from the tunnel be widened to allow for four abreast to come onto the field safely.



In the information presented by the school system, the system contracts with Wadsworth police officers to assist with parking and security during football contests and after game traffic. The district hires two officers to assist with parking before the game starts and up to four more arrive later to provide security according to that information.



The improvements will also include a new press box, ticket booth and restrooms.



According to the architects Braun & Steidl, the improvements will provide handicapped accessibility throughout the stadium, increase the playability and safety of the game field, improve the visitors' bleachers, meet the restroom facility demands and enhance aesthetics.