SHARON – Penn State Shenango officials asked the city to contribute a half-million dollars to build a baseball and softball complex on the college’s campus in downtown Sharon.

Jay Roberts, facilities supervisor at Penn State Shenango, spoke to Sharon City Council at their workshop meeting Wednesday and outlined plans for the North Flats Athletic Complex project.

“The complex would include an artificial turf playing surface that would allow for collegiate, interscholastic and Little League baseball and softball tournaments right here at our campus,” Roberts said.

He said the complex could be used by Sharon City School District, and that Penn State also plans to ask the school district to contribute $500,000. Roberts estimated the total project cost to be $2.5 to $3 million.

The complex would also include home and away dugouts, scoreboards, lighting, concession stands and bleachers.

The current 2½-acre grassy field, which is now used for intramural activities and workouts for sports programs the school has been redeveloping, is on the eastern side of campus between Vine Avenue and Railroad Street north of Reno Street.

“It’s a nice green space right in the heart of downtown Sharon,” Roberts said.

The next step is to move the concept into a feasibility study by a landscape architect that specializes in athletic complex development, Roberts said.

Roberts said it would cost around $30,000 and that Penn State would pay for it.

After getting approval for the $1 million from the city and Sharon schools, they would like to form a representative committee and put together a memorandum of understanding, Roberts said.

At that point the committee would make a formal presentation to the office of vice president for Commonwealth campuses for Penn State University to go over the final funding, and Penn State’s total buy-in amount.

“I’m sure the review would be extensive, but working with all involved I believe we could do this,” Roberts told council.

City Council President Molly Bundrant said city officials would think about the proposal. A time to vote on committing $500,000 to the project was not set.

Penn State Shenango announced in June that it is adding adding a men’s baseball team for the 2023-24 academic year, beginning play that spring. Baseball will become the fifth sport that the campus has added since reinstating athletics in 2018.

Follow Melissa Klaric on twitter @HeraldKlaric or email her at mklaric@sharonherald.com

Follow Melissa Klaric on twitter @HeraldKlaric or email her at mklaric@sharonherald.com

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Melissa has been a news reporter for The Herald since 2013, covering breaking news, northern Mercer County, Sharon City schools and education. She is a 1992 graduate of Youngstown State University with a Bachelor of Arts in communications.