This 2013 file photo shows the new bleachers at Cameron Stadium in Bangor. Plans are in the works for $2.7 renovation to the facility that will include an artificial turf field and an all-weather track. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Bangor High School athletic director Steve Vanidestine said preparations are underway for the $2.73 million renovation of Cameron Stadium behind the Cohen Middle School on Garland Street.

Bangor voters approved the project in the Nov. 3 election through a bond issue. The renovations will include artificial turf to replace the grass surface on the football field and an eight-lane, all-weather track.

Test borings were done on Christmas Eve to examine the existing condition of the ground under the field and the track. Early indications are workers didn’t find any areas of concern, according to Vanidestine.

Carpenter Associates of Old Town and Tighe & Bond of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, have been hired to develop a blueprint for the work before the Bangor School Department puts it out to bid. The engineering firms are receiving input from Vanidestine, Bangor schools maintenance director Abe Chase and Joe Nelson, who oversees the department’s athletic facilities.

Tighe & Bond and Carpenter Associates will also oversee the project to make sure the work meets specifications and stays within budget constraints.

Vanidestine said the hope is to award the bid by the end of February and to have the work begin in mid to late March, depending upon the severity of the winter.

The artificial turf field will be the first order of business, followed by the track.

“I would like to have our teams playing on the new surface this fall,” Vanidestine said. “And we could bid to hold a regional or a state track meet in 2022.”

However, he pointed out that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it may take longer to get needed materials for the project.

“One of the reasons we would like to get this started early is to avoid issues caused by variables like the weather and COVID-19 and to be able to secure the supplies we need,” Vanidestine said.

Once the artificial turf is installed, the next step will be to put down asphalt for the eight-lane track.

Vanidestine said once that settles, they will install the latex surface on the track.

“It has to be at least 50 degrees to put down the latex,” he said.

Once the latex is laid on top of the asphalt, Vanidestine said they will avoid having games on the field for a couple of weeks to make sure it settles and they can add the lane lines.

“We will just play away games during that period,” he said.

Vanidestine said there will be a 12-foot rubberized carpet that can be placed across the track so anyone who needs to access the field won’t damage the latex surface.

Vanidestine, who in May was the recipient of the Robert Lahey Administrator of the Year Award by the Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, said small cameras will be installed at the site so people can watch the progress of the project.

Teams from Bangor schools and other youth programs will be able to use the artificial turf field, which will remain a consistent playing surface despite significantly increased use or inclement weather. Football, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey teams will also be able to use the facility.

Vanidestine, Bangor High’s AD since 1984, said the hope is to provide the community with a safe multisport facility through a project that is completed on time and within the budget.

“I want our [high school] seniors to be able to play on that facility,” he said.