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HUBER HEIGHTS - Huber Heights City Schools is planning to make more than $400,000 in improvements to four athletic facilities, citing safety as the primary reason.
The school board will weigh a recommendation from the administration at tonight's meeting to advertise for bids for the project, which will be paid for out of the district's permanent improvement fund.
Improvements totaling $405,000 are expected to begin in late May and be completed in early August in time for the fall sports season, according to Superintendent Sue Gunnell.
The bulk of the project - $325,000 - is for Good Samaritan Athletic Fields at Heidkamp Stadium. Wooden bleachers on the visitor side will be replaced by aluminium ones that will seat 1,600 people, and construction of a retaining wall, concrete pad and concrete walkway also are included in the project.
The seating capacity will not expand, Gunnell said. Total seating capacity is between 5,500 and 6,000, said Jay Min-ton, the district's athletic director and head football coach.
"This is unavoidable," Minton said. "We host a lot of events there, and we just want to make it safe for the people who come. Right now, it's all about safety and getting it up to code."
The home side bleachers will be replaced at Studebaker football field and a concrete pad will be installed - a total project cost of $70,000. The new aluminium bleachers will seat 500 at the junior high field.
A set of 50-seat bleachers will be installed at both the high school tennis courts and softball field, costing $5,000 apiece, Gunnell said. Future athletic facility improvement phases will include new bleachers for the baseball field and designated bleachers for the band, she said.
"We decided to go with the most important ones this year," Gunnell said. "We don't want to deplete our PI fund, so we're doing things in stages."
The district's permanent improvement fund currently has a balance of $1.2 million, Gunnell said.
The fund collects $300,000 a year from tax revenue, and the district has not had to dip into that fund the last several years because of the construction of seven new school buildings.
Voters approved a 6.92-mill bond issue in 2008 for a $162 million building project, and the Ohio School Facilities Commission funded 52 percent of that.
Gunnell also said the school board is expected to discuss at tonight's meeting participation fees, a family cap and a payment plan for next school year. This year's participation fee is $428 per student per sport, with a $1,200 family cap and payment plan.
"I don't anticipate huge changes," she said.
Voters have rejected the district's request for new operating funds five times in a row, and Gunnell said she does not anticipate a levy on the August ballot. The board has not had any discussions yet on a possible November issue, she said.
Contact this reporter at 937-225-2281.