WINTHROP — It’s a stadium, Geoff Cobb points out, that practically built itself. A little facelift, though, has the field close to looking better than ever.

Cobb, resource manager for McGee Construction, is in the final stages of finishing the ground work at one of central Maine’s iconic high school football venues. Now known as Shuman Field and formerly called Maxwell Field, the venue received new turf Tuesday morning from workers with GeoSurfaces. 

Between a hill that provides a perfect setting for bleachers or grass seating and a tree line that yields incredible fall scenery, it’s the ideal spot for such a project.

“It’s a natural stadium; we didn’t have to be built because it was here,” said Cobb, the project supervisor. “That’s what’s so special about this. It’s great to be able to add to and upgrade something that hasn’t been touched since 1975.”

Although there’s still installation to be done, a peek down at Shuman Field from the top of the hill now shows what the future of Winthrop athletics resembles. As soon as a few weeks from now, fall evenings between the lakes will be as breathtaking as ever for the Rambler faithful.

It’s been several years now that Winthrop has been planning significant renovations to the field complex. Those discussions have ramped up significantly over the past two years, during which Winthrop Public Schools administrators have met with McGee and Williams Construction on a monthly basis to plan the project.


In January, the Winthrop Athletic Complex Committee, led by Charlie’s Family of Dealerships Vice President Stephen Shuman, announced a $1.2 million donation to fund the first phase. That got the ball rolling on installing the turf and building new bleachers into the hill, with Shuman purchasing the naming rights for the field.

Workers from GeoSurfaces install the field turf Tuesday afternoon at Shuman Field in Winthrop. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

“We’ve been having serious conversations about this for about three to five years,” said Winthrop Athletic Director Joel Stoneton. “The Shuman family was involved right off the bat because they have kids coming up through (the school). … That big lump of money from Charlie’s was very helpful.”

As of early Tuesday afternoon, turf panel installation for the field itself had been completed from the south end of the field through the 20-yard line on the north end. Panels still need to be laid on the sidelines and behind both end zones, and new lights and a stairway to the bleachers must also be installed.

That turf surface, new bleachers and lights are just the first step in the three-phase project. The second phase will involve the creation of a new Maine Principals’ Association-approved track around the field, and the third would see additional parking, concessions, restrooms and locker rooms. 

Shuman Field is seen through the press box window as new turf is installed on Tuesday. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“We put a six-lane track in already with all the earthwork underneath it,” Cobb said. “Right now, you’d be looking at just repaving it and covering it. The MPA approved stone dust already, and it’s the right length and the right distance. When the time comes, it’ll be an easy swap-over.”

Although the Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale football team is used to winning games at its home field, that squad won’t be the only one using the new turf. The Ramblers field hockey team is set to make the move to the venue, as will Winthrop boys soccer and the Monmouth/Winthrop co-op girls soccer team.


Winthrop now joins a growing list of Kennebec County school districts to add turf fields in recent years. Messalonskee began play on its turf facility in the spring 2019 season with fellow Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference members Cony and Gardiner converting in fall 2021 and spring 2022, respectively.

“It takes that weather aspect out of it, which is really nice and is big for a lot of schools,” Stoneton said of the turf, which makes games in wet conditions far more playable. “We went over and played Gardiner (in a football exhibition) Friday night, and it was pouring, and it didn’t affect the game. We’re excited to have that here.”

With its home field under construction, Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale football has had to practice elsewhere for the time being. The Ramblers spent their first two weeks of practice at Kents Hill School before moving to Camp Mechuwana a mile south of Shuman Field this week.

“It’s tough being away from our locker room and our home base and dealing with all those side distractions, so we’re ready to get back,” said Ramblers head coach Dave St. Hilaire. “I got a chance to take a look at it yesterday, and it looks amazing. It can’t come soon enough.”

Workers from GeoSurfaces install the new field turf on Tuesday at Shuman Field in Winthrop. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Delays in the project forced the football team’s home opener against Freeport on Friday, originally scheduled to be the first on the turf, to be relocated to Lewiston High School. After all, there’s still the matter of lights, a new fence and, of course, painting the school’s bus logo at midfield.

No concrete date has been set for the first competition to be held on the new surface, but Stoneton and Cobb both see late September as an achievable goal. It might just work out that the first game back at Shuman is one that already comes with scenes of pomp and celebrations.

“In a perfect world, we’d be ready for homecoming,” Cobb said, referencing Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale’s Sept. 22 game against Oak Hill. “What better stage to open it up than that right? Really, the only thing that hinges on at this point is the lights.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the new name of the field and correct spelling for Shuman. 

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