School District approves $150,000 toward turf field |

School District approves $150,000 toward turf field

summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado

FRISCO ” The Summit School District Board of Education Wednesday approved a $150,000 contribution toward synthetic turf at the Summit High School stadium and practice field.

The $1.25 million project aims to increase the number of athletic events hosted during snow season, boosting student achievement and enhancing the district’s image.

Wednesday’s motion was approved unanimously. Board members emphasized before voting that the finances will come from the building fund ” which may only be spent on capital projects ” rather than the general fund, where about $2 million in cuts are under way.

Grants from private and state entities, as well as corporate donations, are to account for more than half of the project cost. A turf team comprised of board secretary Erin Major, district staff and community members presented the board an executive summary of the project, dated May 7. It includes a timeline of goals.

The project is planned for completion by Aug. 1, 2009. It includes a goal of $300,000 in corporate donations in March 2008, according to the executive summary.

“The corporate piece of that hasn’t been pursued heavily because we’ve been kind of waiting on school board approval,” Gretchen Nies, turf team member and SHS director of athletics and activities said Thursday. “(We’ve) identified local corporate entities we’d like to approach, as well as some based outside.”

She said they’ve been in communication with local municipalities, and that the Town of Frisco has committed up to $100,000.

Karen Strakbein, the district’s assistant superintendent of business services, said the team is an “optimistic group,” and that they have more than a year before construction would begin. She also said they’ve applied for numerous grants.

District spokesperson Julie McCluskie said the district’s approval was necessary “before anything else was triggered.”

“This is really the beginning,” she said.

The board room Wednesday was full of parents, teachers and students supporting the turf. Because the item was addressed later than scheduled, board president Christine Scanlan requested that only public comments of opposition be presented.

Frisco town clerk Deborah Wohlmuth was the only audience member to come forward.

“I think public perception is everything. You guys are talking about a project that I think is very public, and I caution you. I think you could diminish voter confidence significantly, and the next time you need money, they may say, ‘no,'” Wohlmuth said.

“I understand the process. I know it’s different pots of money and I still feel that way.”

Following Wohlmuth’s statement, Scanlan encouraged those supporting the project to help communicate its financing methods to the public.

“Every dollar that we can I want to put to teacher salaries. That’s where I put our money, if we have money to put it there,” Scanlan said. The turf money could not go to teacher salaries, the Board clarified.

Concerns of snow removal, projects re-prioritized to accommodate the turf, and turf maintenance were also addressed at the meeting. Replacement of turf in 10 to 15 years is to include annual contributions from facility rentals, booster club donations, gate receipts and private donations.

Regarding academia, the turf field’s ability to support more home games is expected to increase 130 student athletes’ class time. Spring sport athletes currently average 26 hours of missed class time each year traveling to away games. With an extra seven weeks of home field use, these students would miss an estimated 13 hours, according to the executive summary.

Decreased transportation costs and liability, as well as increased potential to attract and maintain quality coaches, are listed as additional perks. Football, soccer, cross country, track and rugby are among the activities to benefit.

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to move forward on the project. I think our community is very much in support of it,” Nies said.

– Local government, $300,000

– Corporate donations, $300,000

– Private foundation grants, $250,000

– State government grants, $200,000

– Summit School District, $150,000

– Fundraising, $50,000

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