Clarke field may get new surface, other improvements
Posted: November 27, 2012
The Winchester Star
BERRYVILLE — The Clarke County School Board Monday approved a stormwater study as part of an effort to improve Wilber M. Feltner Stadium.
Board members unanimously agreed to spend $5,200 for a study to determine if adding synthetic turf at the stadium at the former Clarke County High School is feasible.
The stadium is used primarily for high school football, track and soccer. Staff has looked at putting athletic facilities at the new high school, but have been deterred by space and cost restraints.
The proposed project would replace the natural grass on the 85,000-square-foot field with an artificial surface made up of a layer of sand base, stone, artificial surface and ground-up rubber.
According to director of operations Randy Trenary, the cost savings over a 10-year period after converting from natural grass to artificial turf would be between $150,000 and $200,000.
With the upgrade, the field would become all-year, all-weather.
“Our field is beat,” said board member Chip Schutte. “It is used virtually every day. By the end of the soccer season, you are hanging by your toenails to the last blade of grass.”
The new surface would also cut down on maintenance costs, officials said. During the football season, staff can spend up to 100 hours a month working on the field.
The proposed project to improve the stadium also includes upgrading the fencing and making the area behind the bleachers an asphalt road that is handicap-accessible. The area is currently graveled.
The stormwater study will determine if that part of the project can go forward. If it can, private funds will be used to pay for it.
No project costs have yet to be determined.
Although Schutte believes the county’s guidelines would deem the turf to be impermeable and thus prohibit the project, he still voted for the study.
“We may find out we’re not able to get this approved,” he said. “So we’re risking $5,000.”
The board also discussed how to allocate about $430,000 in unspent fiscal year 2012 operating funds for one-time FY13 capital expenditures.
The board discussed spending $100,000 for new textbooks, $120,000 in Smart board technology for grades three through five, $61,700 for a new radio system, $15,000 for a four-wheel bucket loader to remove snow and dirt, and $25,000 for a zero-turn mower.
“We believe [these are] noble and appropriate [uses] for these funds,” said Superintendent Mike Murphy.
Member Beth Leffel questioned spending money on the bucket loader and mower, but Murphy said the items were necessities.
“Now we only have two snow plows,” he said. “We tried to use a farm tractor from FFA, but it just doesn’t do parking lots and we have a lot of parking lots.”
Trenary said that in the past the division has had to spend money to get companies to haul snow away.
Another consideration for the leftover funds is to spend $325,000 for an Enterprise Resource Planning System, or business management software.
Janet Creager Alger said she wanted the ERP system, but she’d rather purchase items that would improve learning now.
“The choice for me is what is directly going to help the kids,” Alger said.
The board eventually decided to hold off on the decision of where to allocate funds until after it sees what, if any, federal budget cuts come from the potential fiscal cliff.
Present at the meeting were Chairman Janet Creager Alger and members Beth Leffel, Jim Brinkmeier, Chip Schutte and Barbara Lee.
— Contact Rebecca Layne at firstname.lastname@example.org