Ocean City Press Box Construction To Begin

OCEAN CITY – The scheduled demolition of the old press box at Northside Park happened just in the nick of time on Monday, just days before Ocean City Council placed other town capital projects on the chopping block.

As the City Council mulled over capital projects plans Wednesday deciding which to cut and which to proceed with as planned, the old “press box” at Northside Park was demolished on Monday, clearing a path for construction of the budgeted $585,000, two-floor facility that is due to open in May.

Construction of the new facility will begin on Monday, Nov. 17 by Miken Builders and will see a new state-of-the-art facility equipped with ADA-accessible restrooms and an expanded kitchen for concessions.  The second floor will house sports equipment and provide an improved area for sports officials, scorekeepers and press.

Designed by AES in Salisbury, the new press box was included in the capital projects debate that fueled many of the talking points between candidates during the recent City Council election season. 

Some candidates, both elected ones like Joe Hall and ones that didn’t get elected like Brent Ashley and Jay Hancock, saw the press box as a project that possibly could be put on the backburner for the upcoming year, but the scheduled demolition took place before the council deliberated on the town’s planned capital projects for the upcoming year.

“The Absolute Demolition took place as planned on Nov. 10, and we are on schedule to begin construction Monday and hopefully have it ready to open to the public by early May,” said Ocean City Recreation and Parks Director Tom Shuster.

Miken Builders was awarded the bid to construct the new press box for $347,393, and Chessie Sales was awarded the bid for construction of the concession stand equipment and kitchen for $78,542.  It is projected that the concession stand should bring in about $50,000 a year in revenue.

Some components of the old building, such as the water fountains, were saved and will be re-used in the new building, according to Shuster. 

Shuster said the project was “pretty straightforward”, citing the new building “would be comprised mostly of block, with a framed roof and some steel.”

City Engineer Terry McGean will oversee the project for the town of Ocean City, and those who use Northside Park’s walking trail may see certain portions of the trail closed during the construction.  Access to the softball and baseball fields will also be prohibited during construction of the new press box.