Monday, January 25, 2016

School Board Votes to Proceed With Turf Project

The Warren School Board met in a special called meeting Monday, January 25, at 6:00 p.m. with four of the seven board members present:  Dr. Kerry Pennington, Joey Cathey, Shannon Gorman, and Greg Morman.  Absent from the meeting were Joel Tolefree, Jerry Daniels, and Angela Marshall. The purpose of the meeting was to consider the direction of the turf project from this point forward.

The meeting began with a statement from Interim Superintendent Bobby Acklin.  He told the board that he acknowledged needs for a new Eastside building and a new gym.  He told them that the two projects together will cost approximately $15 million.  Funding of these projects will require either a massive influx of students or a millage increase.  He said, "Just because we can't do everything doesn't mean we shouldn't do anything."

He noted that a half million dollar project has just been completed at Eastside.

He addressed the question, "Why turf?"

His answer:  The turf field will be funded without an increase in millage.  He pointed out that the turf project would not take resources from other programs.

He asked the board to consider three actions:

1.  Approve going forward with the turf project
2.  Contract with Athletics Surfaces Plus, a consultant and project development and management partner
3.  Allow the use of funds currently being used for the upkeep of the existing field, not to exceed $25,000 per year, to help fund the project until the project's completion.

Some questions were posed by the board.  One question was what would be the next step if approved.

Mr. Acklin told the board that a steering committee would need to be formed.

Another question concerning who would appoint people to this committee was asked.

Mr. Acklin said the Athletic Director would have a voice in the committee and that a member of the board should be appointed by the school board.

It was asked if board approval of this committee would be needed.  If the school board feels that necessary, yes was the answer.

There was no one present who asked to speak for or against the proposals.

The board then voted on all three proposed actions individually.  All three passed unanimously.

Board member Dr. Kerry Pennington asked that it be stressed that the district is NOT spending any money that will add to or take away from any school need.  It is revenue neutral.  He also asked that it be noted that research, which he has looked into, supports that turf is often safer for athletes and is NOT responsible for more injuries.

It was further noted that soccer will also benefit from this project.

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