School Board Takes Action on Athletic Complex Proposal, Tennis Courts
According to a prior Gant article, in June 2011, the board approved renovating and expanding the high school campus into grades seven through twelve by a 5-2 vote. The board has not sought any competitive bids for the $34 million high school renovation and expansion project but intends to obtain these sometime this spring.
In January, Superintendent Dr. Thomas B. Otto recommended the district consolidate the Centre, Bradford and Girard-Goshen elementary schools and the Clearfield Middle School, moving kindergarten through grades six into an expanded and renovated Clearfield Elementary School. If approved, this project would cost the district $8.9 million.
In March, the district conducted its 780 hearing to receive public comment about their consideration of permanently closing the Girard-Goshen Elementary School. Approximately a half-dozen community members, including one with a several-page petition, disapproved moving toward consolidation. The board cannot take any official action regarding Girard-Goshen until its three-month “cooling off” period expires at the end of June.
Monday’s meeting began with well over 100 people in the Clearfield Area Middle School’s auditorium. About 30 people expressed their opinions on the proposed renovation/building plans, including the Bison Sports Complex (football field/track) and the tennis courts. Much of the opinions expressed were similar to the prior month’s meeting; for or against; some work, no work, or the whole project. The majority of those who commented indicated they were for some work or changes to be done, it was just to what degree and how much it would cost. Some were for changes to the football field, just not field turf. One member of the public believed resurfacing the tennis courts would be sufficient for the time being.
Following public comment, the board was faced with the decision to accept the bid from Grace Industries in the amount of $1,750,000 for renovations to the Bison Stadium field and track, pending approval from the district’s solicitor. Board member Rick Schickling stated he didn’t have enough information. He stated he would also like to see the bid broken down.
Board member Jennifer Wallace stated it needed to be looked at more in-depth. She pointed at maintenance issues that led to the field being in the condition in its currently in, and the additional maintenance that would be needed to maintain a turf field.
Board member Philip Carr indicated that he was in favor of field turf, but that the additional debt bothered him.
Dr. Michael Spencer indicated this would be paid for out of the capital reserve.
Board member Tim Morgan pointed to both pros involving grass/sod and turf. Grass generally being less expensive, while the turf field would allow more use between a number of activities such as soccer, gym class and band. Board member Mary Ann Jackson said she talked with DuBois Area School District’s athletic director, who had great things to say about their two turf fields. Jackson said she also had some warnings about what maintenance issues the district will face should they go to a turf surface.
Board President Dave Glass stated the district pays roughly $40,000 per year to maintain its current grass field, which is used only about eight times per year.
This came to a vote, passing 6-3. Members Larry Putt, Spencer, Glass, Jackson, Susan Mikesell, and Morgan voting yes; Schickling, Wallace and Carr voted no. In addition, the board approved accepting a grant from USA Football in the amount of $25,000 toward the purchase of FieldTurf.
Also up for vote were the proposed tennis court upgrades. In recent years the district’s tennis teams have been playing all away games and practicing at the courts at the Clearfield Driving Park. The board unanimously approved the bid from Grace Industries in the amount of $198,000 to repair the existing courts, pending review by its solicitor.
Editor’s Note: A lot occurred at this meeting. as noted, roughly 30 people were signed up for public comment. This was condensed, heavily. Other items were also discussed, such as a proposed 0 mill tax increase, and a member of the administration resigning. Please watch for additional published stories on this meeting.