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The Donegal School District is moving forward with a roughly $4 million athletic stadium, despite lingering questions on exact costs and reimbursement from a proposed capital campaign.
The school board's unanimous action on June 18 did not approve any bids for the project, but was a consensus to accept the architect's renderings for the stadium and to keep the project on track.
The 1,800-seat stadium with synthetic turf field would be constructed on a vacant field next to the district's new high school on Koser Road.
Questions still surrounded the project, but board President Oliver Overlander III didn't feel those issues should hold up the project.
For example, Overlander said topography of the field was still an issue to sort out.
If the project utilizes part of the uneven field, bleachers on one side of the stadium could sit higher than the other side.
But leveling the entire site would require truckloads of soil at significant added cost to the project, which is currently estimated at around $3.9 million.
"It could cost up to $300,000 to bring in soil to level the field," Overlander said.
One board member thought that part of the high school's construction costs years ago included grading of the adjacent fields for the possibility of a future stadium.
No one was immediately sure if that part of the school project was overlooked or if it was removed from the project.
Board member Stephen Gault had initial concerns about the public's desire to contribute to a capital campaign planned by the Donegal Athletic Club, a nonprofit organization formed in 2008 with the goal of improving the district's athletic facilities.
The district has funds earmarked in its capital projects account to pay for the entire stadium project, if necessary.
Gault questioned what incentive there was for people to contribute to DAC if the district covers the cost of the project.
Overlander said the stadium project is just one piece of a much broader master pan to improve the athletic facilities in the district.
"Even if the district pays for the stadium, there would still be incentives to raise funds for the other athletic projects," Overlander said.
Gault said that explanation satisfied him.
DAC last year offered an initial pledge of $10,000 toward improvements to the district's softball field.
DAC president Scott Madara thanked the board for its support on the stadium project.
"We are looking forward to kicking off the capital campaign," Madara said.
Discussion of the stadium project did not include any specifics on when the project would go out to bid or when construction would begin or be completed.
The board, in a related matter, approved two documents associated with the stadium project. They included a naming rights legal agreement and a naming rights fee schedule.
The price for naming rights for the athletic stadium complex was set at $500,000.
The name for the turf field is up for grabs for $350,000, and the running track around the field is going for $250,000.
For $100,000, someone can sponsor the lights, and $50,000 will buy naming rights to the scoreboard, press box or home locker room.
The visitors' locker room, ticket booth and rest rooms can be sponsored for $25,000 each.