Pony Lewis Field gets new turf, lights, more

First phase of upgrade nearly done

The Dominion Post

TO DONATE to the MHS facilities project, send checks to MHS Foundation, P.O. Box 1431, Morgantown, WV 26507.
Phase One of the improvement project at Morgantown High School’s Pony Lewis Field is nearly complete, and football players are noticing a difference three days into fall practice.
Phase One projects included installation of new field turf, new home bleachers, new lights, and a new concession stand and bathrooms beneath the cafeteria.
“It’s great to finally have something nice like this, especially this turf,” senior guard Jacob Powers said. Before, “You would hit the turf and get all cut up. That is part of the game, but you don’t need to get hurt in the offseason.”
Powers is positive the new turf will help cut down on offseason injuries.
MHS coach John Bowers said the new turf is one big safety improvement, but the upgrade he is most excited about is high above where the Mohigans play.
“I’m most excited about the lights,” he said. “We’ve had so many dark spots on the field for so many years. It’s very, very much needed. The kids are very deserving and the community should be applauded.”
He said he is glad to see the community support for everyone who uses the facility, not just football players. He is also confident the improvements will provide a better, safer game experience for fans.
“It’s a beautiful facility. The community really rallied around to support the kids. They deserve a nice place to play ball. The boys and girls that use it absolutely deserve it,” he said. “The fans will have a safe place to watch the games and we won’t have to worry about anybody tumbling down the bleachers.”
Bowers said that, with the improvements at MHS and the new facilities at University High, the quality of the venues now matches the quality of the athletes who use them.
“If you look at the beautiful facility at UHS and you look at what we have here now, and we still have some improvements to make,” he said. “The kids in Mon County excel in the classroom; we excel on the field, so I think we deserve a nice place to showcase our athletes on nice playing facilities.”
Powers said the community support the Mohigans have received motivates him to work even harder to justify the money being spent.
“I think it means that our parents, the people in the community back us, and this is one more reason for us to keep fighting and keep making it worth their while to support us,” he said. “I was proud to be a Mohigan beforehand, but this just added to it.”
Fundraising for Phase Two continues. The total cost of the project is expected to be $6 million, with equal funding coming from private donations, the Monongalia County Board of Education and the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust.
The second phase will include construction of a new field house, press box, scoreboard and possibly visitors’ bleachers. There is no timetable for the completion of phase two. It will depend on when there is enough money.

Bob Gay/The Dominion Post photos
New bleachers (above)
and a new turf playing surface (below) have been installed at Morgantown High’s Pony Lewis Field, as par t of a $6 million renovation project.