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South Bend Tribune (Indiana)
SOUTH BEND — School Field will have artificial turf and new state-of-the-art field lighting installed by the start of football season in August.
The South Bend Community School Corp. school board on Thursday night voted 7-0 to approve a $1.2 million improvement project at the athletic facility on South Eddy Street.
The project will be paid for with a combination of bond money the district already has available for improvements, sponsorships, naming rights for the field and community grants, according to administrators. They didn't identify any specific sponsors or indicate how much of the total would come from private sources.
"We have multiple partnerships on the table" to help fund the project, Kate Turk, executive director of operations services, told the board. "We are in the final stages."
"We want to give our student athletes the best of both worlds, in the classroom and also on the field," Athletic Director Seabe Gavin said. "We want to give them the best resources possible. I think this is long overdue."
No members of the public turned out to speak in favor or against the plan.
"I would prefer we have the naming rights before we approve this," board member John Anella said, although he joined in the unanimous vote.
"It's really an exciting opportunity for student athletes," board member Jay Caponigro said. The upgraded facility also could be leased for events by outside groups, as a site for regional sports tournaments and used for high school graduation ceremonies, he said. Caponigro said he's confident the naming rights proposal will go forward.
The price tag is $867,364 for a type of synthetic turf called Field Turf Revolution and $345,000 for new lights from Musco Sports Lighting. School Field, built in 1928, stands just north of Jefferson Intermediate Center.
Not included in that price is excavation of the existing field, which will be bid out and performed by local contractors. No cost estimate for that work was provided.
As part of the improvement plan, each of the South Bend public high school football teams would be invited to play some games at the facility, according to administrators. Currently, the stadium is the home field for the Adams and Washington high school football programs.
Locally, both Penn High School and South Bend Saint Joseph High School have installed artificial turf on their football fields, as has the University of Notre Dame.
Two school employee group contracts OK'd
SOUTH BEND — The South Bend school board on Thursday night voted 7-0 to approve new contract agreements with two employee groups: school bus drivers and physical plant workers. Both groups are represented by the American Federal of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 686. The agreements, which include raises, are in effect from now through June 30, 2019. Administrators said they expect to be able to provide additional increases when future contracts are negotiated in 2019.
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