Construction crews began replacing the artificial turf and surrounding track at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland this week, work that will preclude high school lacrosse games and track meets from being held there until June.

Portland High is playing its home lacrosse games across town at Deering High’s Memorial Field. Both Deering and Portland typically host outdoor track meets at Fitzpatrick; this spring, neither school will have home track meets.

The capital improvement project should be completed by early June, said Ethan Owens, the Rec & Athletic Facilities manager for Portland. The project will cost about $1 million, he said.

“We just started getting into it,” Owens said. “We’re tearing the field up.”

Fitzpatrick Stadium is slated to be the site of the high school lacrosse state championship games on June 20.

“We’re planning on being done for the state championships,” said Owens. “It takes about two weeks to take up the old field and put the new one down, then two weeks for the track.”


Fitzpatrick Stadium had its bleachers replaced three years ago and its lights replaced two years ago.

“It’s going to be a beautiful stadium when it’s completed,” said Rob O’Leary, the athletic director at Portland High. “It’s something that was definitely needed.”

The artificial turf had showed signs of deterioration for several years.

Construction crews are working on the subsurface.

“The old turf was 13 years old and had an eight-year warranty,” said Owens. “It was starting to show some serious wear and tear, some of the seams were coming up and the field was becoming harder.”

Owens said the project first began in December, with the old turf being ripped up and work done on some sewer drains.


The new artificial surface is being installed by Northeast Turf of South Portland, which also installed the surface at Memorial Field. The new track will have a polyurethane surface.

“It will be gorgeous when it’s done,” said Owens.

Portland’s O’Leary said the Bulldogs have been practicing “anywhere we could find a spot.”

Mel Craig, the athletic director at Deering, said the schools have had to work hard to juggle their schedules “simply because of the sheer volume of what we have to schedule.”

She added that other schools in the SMAA have been very helpful in rescheduling the track meets.

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