Robeson Stadium getting an upgrade

Photo by Joe Ragozzino
A happy Athletic Director Michael Baldwin stands in front of Paul
Robeson stadium, which is being renovated and should be ready for the fall sports season.

EAST ORANGE — Work has begun to renovate Paul Robeson Stadium with hopes that it will be ready in the fall.

The renovations mark a significant investment in the community’s athletic infrastructure, aiming to elevate Paul Robeson Stadium to the forefront of sporting venues in the region, according to a press release from the East Orange School District.

The highlight of the renovation project is the installation of a state-of-the-art regulation track, providing athletes with a top-tier facility for training and competition. The 8-lane, 400-meter track will have two new long/triple jump runways and pits, a full D zone for high jumping and a new, relocated pole vault runway, the release said.

In addition, the football field will receive a complete overhaul with the introduction of new, high-quality turf, ensuring a safe and optimal playing surface for football enthusiasts of all levels.

“This is an exciting moment for the East Orange School District as we embark on this transformative journey for Paul Robeson Stadium,” said Superintendent AbdulSaleem Hasan. “These renovations reflect our commitment to fostering a vibrant athletic community and providing our residents with world-class facilities. We are confident that the upgraded stadium will become a hub of activity, inspiring athletes and spectators alike.”

“On behalf of the Board, I am thrilled to witness the commencement of renovations to Paul Robeson Stadium, a project that symbolizes the power of collaboration between the board, community members, and administration. This endeavor exemplifies our collective commitment to enhancing the quality of life in East Orange, fostering a sense of pride in our community, and providing our youth with opportunities for growth and development. Through open dialogue and shared vision, we have worked diligently to ensure that these renovations meet the needs and aspirations of all stakeholders,” said Board President Andrea McPhatter.

“As Athletic Director, I am elated about the Paul Robeson Stadium renovations. As the city continues to thrive and flourish, so will our student athletes, as they approach the 2024-2025 season,” said Athletic Director Michael Baldwin.

“The track was heavily damaged during Hurricane Ida in September 2021. The football field failed a GMAX test in April 2023, which rendered the field unsafe for athletic purposes. Fortunately, the District received an insurance payout as a result of the damages the stadium sustained and that funding is being utilized to renovate the stadium,” said School Business Administrator Marissa McKenzie.

“The renovation work is scheduled to be completed within a few months, with an anticipated unveiling of the revitalized Paul Robeson Stadium in time for the upcoming fall sports season,” McKenzie said.

The renovations are expected to enhance the overall experience for athletes, coaches, and spectators, while also attracting regional sporting events and competitions to East Orange, the release said.