Cuyahoga Falls -- Construction is under way for a $1-million-plus upgrade to Conway Memorial Stadium at Walsh Jesuit High School.

Katie Orendorf, of the Development and Advancement Department at Walsh, 4550 Wyoga Lake Road, says the improvement will include replacing the grass with state-of-the-art synthetic turf and the current track with all-weather polyurethane.

The new artificial turf will permit the school's intramural teams to play at the stadium, which has only been used for football in the past. The new field also will be used for gym classes and band.

The turf will be named for Ron and Nancy Marhofer, whose financial gift sparked the momentum to make the improvements this summer. The Marhofers' three children attended Walsh and their two sons played football there.

An anonymous donor also made a significant contribution toward the improvements, according information listed on the school website.

John and Marilyn Volpe were the original donors of the track back in the 1960s.

"They made a nice donation to redo the track," Orendorf said, adding the school will recognize the couple for their generosity by naming the track in their honor. The Volpes' sons graduated from Walsh and were members of the track team.

"This [project] means the world to us," Walsh President Karl Ertle said. "For many years, we've had a complex that was not as nice as we would've hoped for our students."

Ertle says the upgraded stadium will benefit all Walsh students, from band members to those who play varsity and intramural sports and everyone who takes gym classes.

"It's very, very exciting for us and we're so grateful for all who've supported Walsh Jesuit, especially our benefactors who've made this latest venture possible," he said.

Chris Scala, a 1975 graduate of Walsh, is overseeing the project as head of the board's properties committee.

Ground was broken on the improvement on May 23. Construction crews are working six days a week. The upgrades are scheduled to be complete the first or second week of August, Orendorf says, so the stadium will be ready for the Warriors first home football game on Aug. 29.

Orendorf describes the turf and track upgrades as a first phase in the school's facility upgrades. She says Walsh hopes to complete a second phase "down the line" which will include new stadium seats, restrooms and concessions.

The school is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The Catholic, college preparatory high school boasts a co-ed enrollment of more than 1,000.


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