After more than a year of planning and negotiations, the Hopatcong Warriors will be able to call the Wayne L. Threlkeld Hilltop Sports Complex their home.
The youth football league reached an agreement with the Hopatcong Board of Education at last week's meeting to share the field for all sports activities.
The field, currently used for the high school's football practices and soccer games, will now allow the Warriors to use the field for its youth football program.
In exchange for the field license, the Warriors will be responsible for completing a number of improvements on the fields.
The football league agreed to expand field No. 1 by 80 feet in width for the entire length of the field, and replace all of the fencing.
Warriors General Trustee Dave Barella said the Warriors are also considering adding a fourth field.
A new field house will be built next to the Hopatcong High School storage facility that will be used as both a concession stand and a storage unit.
The team also agreed to widen the access road from Lakeside Boulevard to the top of the Hilltop Complex, mill the entire parking lot and stripe for parking, and install safety guard rails aound the whole property.
Barella said new lighting around field will also be put on field one.
The renovations will solely rely on volunteers, donations, and funding from the Chris Anderson Memorial Field Foundation.
Although all of the improvements will be made in phases over the next few years, Barella said some of the work has already begun.
He said Rich Hoer, of Lakeside Construction, has already started to work on the parking lot.
Barella said that while not everything will be done by next season, the team is hoping to start practice by the summer.
"It's our hope that we will be able to get the whole program up there by Aug. 1 next year," Barella said. "We're hoping to have the lights in place, and the concession and storage building in place."
Hopatcong Superintendent Dr. Charles Maranzano referred to the plan as a "win-win," as it will benefit multiple groups in the borough.
"The town gets more use of the existing fields, the Warriors get a place they can call home, and the school board gets needed improvements that we can't afford at this point in time," Maranzano said.
"It demonstrates the power when you combine recreational interests with school interests, and you combine your resources," he said. "It becomes a very powerful vehicle for accomplishing something. With the spirit of volunteerism in town and support for athletics, this is clearly a win-win for both the school and the Warriors."