The Millcreek School Board voted on several major projects totaling more than $50 million.

Those projects include renovations to McDowell High School and Tracy Elementary School and upgrades to the district’s baseball and softball fields.

Millcreek School District failed to approve renovations to McDowell High School, with plans to revisit it, passed plans to renovate Tracy Elementary School, and approved upgrades to the baseball fields at the David. P. Hanlon Sports Complex.

Potential investments of the Millcreek School District on the table amount to around $53.6 million and have the chance to impact thousands of students.

Renovations were approved for Tracy Elementary School but not for McDowell High school.

However, what the community most pushed for were changes to McDowell’s baseball and softball fields. Members of the baseball team that spoke at the meeting said that their home field is often unplayable.

Ayden Burkhardt, a McDowell baseball junior, said, “if it rains once, maybe not even for five minutes, that field is gone. You can’t play on it. You can’t practice on it. It’s just mushy. It’s all bad.”

McDowell, baseball’s head coach, added to this complaint, saying that in his time as head coach, they’ve spent little to no time on their field.

Vinny Carone, McDowell’s head baseball coach, said, “I’ve been coaching here since 2019, and we’ve not had a single regular season practice on our home baseball field, and we’ve played two baseball games on our own baseball field.”

Instead, the team has been forced to play at Mercyhurst or UPMC Park in Downtown Erie, but now, the Millcreek School Board voted to spend roughly $2.9 million to renovate their field, add new turf, fences, bleachers, and more.

Along with that, they’re adding stadium lights so that games can be played at any time, spending another almost $1.6 million. These new plans will bring the home field back to McDowell.

“It’s right across the street from the school. More people can show up and more fans. Whenever you play at UPMC Park downtown, not as many people know about it, and it’s kind of harder to get there,” Burkhardt added.

“When we play some games down at UPMC Park, we get a good turnout, so I think it’ll be awesome to finally see McDowell baseball field packed to the brim watching a baseball game and having a crowd there to support us,” Carone said. “Being a high school athlete, that’s huge, and people dream of playing in front of crowds like that.”

Supporters of the field changes said that this will positively impact athletes that come through McDowell for years to come.