Board to look at new turf plan

By Bryan Richardson

Bishop Stadium could have an artificial turf field next school year if the USD 383 school board agrees to an altered donation plan at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Representatives of the Manhattan High Booster Club first brought the idea of a fund-raising campaign to purchase synthetic turf to the school board on February 2012.

Since the board’s approval to begin planning, the booster club has obtained commitments for around $560,000 of the approximately $845,790 needed to install synthetic turf at Bishop Stadium.

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. An additional $50,000 to $60,000 has been raised from smaller contributions.

Jason Hilgers, MHS Booster Club president, said the booster club has a couple more donors who would like to spread their donations beyond the five-year window previously discussed.

The board would have to come to a consensus on the changes before the donations would be accepted.

Hilgers said the booster club has worked with district administrators to ensure the district could still maintain its payments with some donors paying over a longer time span.

“We’ll see if the board is agreeable to the payment structure,” Hilgers said. “If they are, I think we’ll be ready to move forward.”

Supt. Bob Shannon said the board would be presented a contract proposal in late February or early March should a consensus be reached Wednesday.

Out of the state’s 32 6A schools, only MHS maintains a natural grass field surface. The artificial surface has a 10 to 15-year life expectancy.

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