Turf to be a reality at Tonganoxie High School

This is what the turf at Beatty Field could resemble if if enough money is raised to fund artificial turf at Tonganoxie High School. Enlarge photo

March 6, 2019

The surface at Beatty Field is always going to be greener come the fall in Tonganoxie.

The Tonganoxie School Board voted, 6-0, to have artificial turf installed at Beatty Field.

Board member Stephanie Shupe was absent.

Tonganoxie USD 464 board members unanimously approved installing field turf at the stadium.

The project is expected to start May 8.

The cost of the project, per the contract with ATG Sports out of Andover is $655,500. A few items included in the agreement are an eight-year base warranty of all base work, rock and drainage under the turf which guarantees against soft spots, low spots and drainage problems, along with a grooming device and a no-change-orders guarantee. That means the bid includes all items necessary for the project. Any additional would come if the district added additional scope to the project.

Community donations will fund $450,000, with the district paying up to $250,000.

Board member Kaija Baldock said that $283,922 has been pledged so far, with another $166,078 to be raised. Community businesses have donated 63 percent of the amount the board agreed would need to come through donors. That total has been raised in less than a month. At Monday’s meeting, the board decided to make May 1 the goal to raise the remaining funds.

Donors, especially those who pledge at the higher levels, can pay in equal installments up to five years.

That also is the planned term for a lease-purchase agreement for the project. The board also approved, 4-0, a request for proposal from financial institutions for a five-year tax-free loan. Board President Jim Bothwell abstained due to a potential conflict of interest if the financial institution for which he works would submit a proposal.

For the project to become a reality for the 2019-20 school year, the board required that at least $250,000 be pledged by March 1. The community exceeded that, which Baldock said made her “want to do cartwheels about that.”

Bothwell noted that committee members for the drive were following up with others donors also.

“I think it’s pretty positive,” he said.

Tonganoxie Superintendent Loren Feldkamp said Tonganoxie track student-athletes would be practicing the final couple weeks of the season elsewhere, possibly at Basehor-Linwood, as the project would begin after the Frontier League Meet.

He said the project is expected to take anywhere from 60-85 days, depending on weather. The first team likely to play its first varsity contest on the turf will be the THS soccer team, as soccer usually opens the season a few days earlier than football. The first varsity football game of the season will be Sept. 6.

Interestingly enough, in 2017, Tonganoxie was the first opponent to play on Spring Hill’s new turf, which ATG also installed. Spring Hill, in fact, built separate football and soccer fields side-by-side.

School day to be longer after spring break

Tonganoxie USD 464 students will have slightly longer school days when they return from spring break later this month.

School board members approved an updated daily schedule that Assistant Superintendent Tonya Phillips presented Monday. The change, which adds 10 minutes to the daily schedule, will satisfy state requirements after the district exhausted its number of available inclement weather days.

The district had a built-in day, this Friday, as an option make-up day if it ran out of inclement weather days. The district ran out, so students are headed to class Friday. After that decision was made, the district used another inclement weather day and, due to that day of canceled classes, district officials presented the extended school day option.

Students have next week off for spring break and then will begin the new schedule March 18. The new schedule will be 7:50 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. for Tonganoxie Elementary School and Tonganoxie Middle School and 7:40 a.m. to 3:05 p.m. for Tonganoxie High School.

The last day of classes for seniors now will be May 10 instead of May 8. And students in grades K-11 will end the school year with a full day instead of a half day on May 17.

USD 464 allotted five snow days for the 2018-19 school year; the district has used seven so far. Students in grades K-11 are required to attend a minimum of 1,116 hours during the school year, while seniors are required to attend 1,086 hours each year.

Personnel approvals

The board approved the hire of Kimberly Nemchik with Tonganoxie Elementary School student nutrition and Magdalene Jeffery, as Tonganoxie High School Spanish teacher, replacing Tracy Barnett.

The board also accepted resignations at TES: Clair Martens as first-grade teacher and Kendra Schobert as second-grade teacher, as well as Donna Sittner’s transfer from fifth-grade teacher to TES technology teacher.

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