Board OKs turf project

By Bryan Richardson

The USD 383 school board OK’d the Bishop Stadium artificial turf project Wednesday.

The Manhattan High Booster Club has been raising funds to install the turf. MHS is the only one of the state’s 32 6A schools that still has a natural grass field.

The board needed to come to a consensus because a couple of donors were looking to pay their donations beyond the previously agreed-to five-year span.

A project contract and lease-purchase plan will be developed and likely presented to the board Feb. 20. The project, which is expected to take 60 days, would be ready for the 2013 season.

It is estimated to cost $790,100 over five years with 2.5 percent interest, so the payment plan had to be altered to include some of the donations that would be received after that time period.

At the meeting, the MHS Booster Club identified Dick Edwards Automotive as donating $250,000 over ten years, and said a currently anonymous donor has committed to donating $50,000 over seven years.

At a November board meeting, the MHS Booster Club said the major contributors providing money over the next five years are Manhattan Surgical Hospital at $200,000 and Steel and Pipe Supply at $100,000. USD 383 is contributing $200,000 to the project as well during the same time span.

Additional funds include $55,000 in in-kind revenue, $4,900 from one-time donations and $3,000 over five years from The Trust Company of Manhattan.

Board member Pete Paukstelis congratulated the booster club on its “amazing accomplishment,” adding that “I really appreciate your efforts and I think our football and soccer teams will really appreciate it over the next ten years.”

Mike Marsh, MHS athletic and activities director, said the efforts have been appreciated. “Our kids, our community and our faculty will be excited about the opportunities the field now will offer because of what we’ve put in place now,” he said.

Jason Hilgers of the MHS Booster Club said the project sold itself. “We were strong believers from the beginning,” he said. “We hit a few bumps, but the donors really are the ones we should be thanking.”

Based on an initial design, Dick Edwards and Manhattan Surgical Hospital would get logos on the field.

The respective logos would get placed on opposing sides between the 20- and 30-yard lines. Steel and Pipe would have a logo on the south apron.

The district would have an estimated $300,000 in savings for turf replacement based on field maintenance savings after year five, and the latter portion of the ten-year donations by Dick Edwards.

The surface has a 10- to 15-year life expectancy. The estimated replacement cost is about one-half the cost of the initial installation.

Also at the meeting, the board also approved the extension of contracts with Supt. Bob Shannon and Associate Supt. Bob Seymour contracts through June 30, 2015.









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