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Officials Approve Funding for Football Field Improvements

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The Roanoke Times (Virginia)

 

CHRISTIANSBURG — Montgomery County Public Schools will get the money needed to perform football field improvements that will launch a yearslong plan to renovate the capacity-troubled Christiansburg High School.

The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, which sets the schools' budget, voted 7-0 Monday night to provide $2.1 million to add artificial turf and a rubberized track to the school's football field and pay for the designs of an artificial turf softball field and concessions, restrooms and athletic field entrance improvements.

Supervisors acted on the funding request during a joint meeting with the school board inside Christiansburg High's library. The vote drew applause from the school board and audience members.

The approved money makes up nearly a third of the total funds needed for projects benefiting football, track, softball and baseball .

The school board has asked for $1.8 million immediately after the sale of the old Blacksburg High School next month and another $2 million in 2019.

The funds from each of those two additional requests will pay for the construction of the softball field, remaining softball and baseball facilities, concessions, restrooms, locker rooms, and entrance improvements.

The athletic projects, however, will be but a fraction of a $67 million to $75 million plan to renovate and bring a new academic building and gym to Christiansburg High. The biggest phases of the high school's improvements aren't slated to occur until the early- to mid-2020s, when the county will again be able to take out capital debt.

Payments from the sales of former school properties in and near Blacksburg and revenue from a fraction of property taxes will provide the money needed for the athletic field improvements at Christiansburg High.

Superintendent Mark Miear said during the meeting that the improvements will bring some new benefits to the high school and the town. The track improvement will expand the track from six to eight lanes and allow the school to host state competitions.

"If we can get some state competitions here, we could fill the hotels up in Christiansburg," Miear said.

The artificial football turf will create an additional practice field, which Miear said will better meet the needs of various field sports, not just football.

Board of supervisors Chairman Chris Tuck said he appreciated the school board's efforts to be transparent and properly inform the public on the projects.

He said it's also wiser to provide the funds now since the interest collected by county money doesn't quite match inflation rates and the rising costs of construction.

"Spending money now is actually saving money," he said.

 

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October 31, 2017
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