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USD 407 BOE Approves Football Field Turf Installation

Artificial TurfPending the signing of a contract, the USD 407 Board of Education at a special Friday morning meeting approved the installation of artificial turf at Shaffer Football Field that will be in place this fall for the 2014 football season.

The motion passed 4-3 with Raeleen Reinhardt, John Fletcher and Jon Quinday voting in the negative.

The project is the first part of a three phase improvement plan to upgrade the Shaffer Complex. A resurfacing and adding of an eighth lane to the track and a turf installation at the baseball field will follow in the next two years.

According to Superintendent Dave Couch, the football field turf installation alone will cost $855,000. The project will be paid for initially by capital outlay funding, but donations will be accepted.

Board Member Reinhardt wonders if the project will have a chilling effect on other much needed facilities upgrades.

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A looming bond issue to pay for other facilities upgrades is expected to be taken to the public in the near future.

Board Vice President Tonya Murphy believes the project will eventually pay for itself based on current maintenance and watering costs.

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Board President Jerry Brown says these upgrades will improve the Russell community as a whole by conserving water, providing a possible economic development bump and by providing a much safer playing surface.

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USD 407 Activities and Athletics Director Sean Spoonts told the Board Friday, as it stands now, the current field is very hard and unsafe to play on. He said if the turf installation had not been approved, new sod or grass would have had to be put in before the start of the season.

CLICK HERE for the meeting minutes.

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