The PIAA is kissing Hersheypark Stadium goodbye.
The PIAA on Wednesday announced Cumberland Valley High School as the host of state’s high school state championships in football, soccer and field for the next four seasons.
“The (request for proposal documents) that were submitted by (Cumberland Valley) were very, very competitive and very attractive,” PIAA Executive Director Bob Lombardi told reporters on Wednesday evening. “There was quite a host of things there that were very attractive, along with their involvement with the (Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau) and making a very nice financial package for us.”
The move ends a run of 24 years of Hersheypark Stadium hosting the football championships.
Cumberland Valley’s Chapman Field is an 8,045-seat venue with upcoming renovations with the installation of new turf in August, a new JumboTron, press box and media center.
“We are very happy to be awarded the bid and we believe we will create a great atmosphere for our Championships,” Cumberland Valley athletic director Mike Craig said. “Our school is centrally located in Pa. and easily accessible from all major highways. Our community is very excited for this opportunity.”
Hershey and Altoona, which hosted the state finals from 1992-97 at Mansion Park Stadium, submitted bids for the new contract.
Penn State University also applied to host the football championships at Beaver Stadium but was not selected.
Lombardi said the PIAA took Penn State’s bid “very seriously,” but that playing six games on Beaver Stadium’s grass field — with football championships for Class 1A through 6A — wouldn’t “fly real well.”
“And with the number of people that we have been drawing in the last five years, I’m not sure that we could’ve paid the bill,” he added.
Rising rental fees, insufficient locker rooms and practice areas were believed to be contributing factors to the PIAA’s decision to move on from Hersheypark Stadium.
The football and field hockey championships will be contested at Chapman Field, while soccer will be played at nearby Eagle View Middle School, according to PennLive.com.
Cumberland Valley already hosts the volleyball championships and will continue in that capacity.
The state cross country championships will remain in Hershey, as will the tennis finals at Hershey Racquet Club.