PRAIRIE GROVE — After some discussion, the Prairie Grove School Board has decided to put proposals on its agenda to install an artificial turf football field and expand the stadium bleachers.
The board was considering whether to approve the papers for the 2023-24 school year.
In another action, the board approved a one-time bonus of $1,250 for all contract employees from 2022-23 at a cost of approximately $250,000.
Superintendent Reba Holmes said the bonus was to “boost morale” and try to keep in touch with surrounding schools. The recommendation is “a bit of a back to school, rah rah, let’s go” bonus, Holmes said.
The meeting began with a presentation on an artificial turf football field by representatives of GeoSurfaces, which is installing an indoor artificial turf field for the high school softball field.
GeoSurfaces submitted a proposal that showed a turf football field would cost $1.1 million.
Charlie Dawson of GeoSurfaces showed board members the layers involved in a turf football pitch, including the base, a shock pad system, and then the turf on top. He offered to use a GeoCool alternative as an infill that cools turf by 40 degrees for around $50,000.
The turf would have an eight-year warranty with the possibility of renewing it for up to three cycles.
Board members asked if sponsor advertisements could be placed on the turf to help offset costs, and Dawson said many schools do this with their turf pitches.
If the council approves the project for next year, Dawson said the company would lock in the price now and buy the materials and store them in a warehouse until it was time to install the turf.
Holmes gave options for paying for the turf pitch, which included using money from the building fund or taking out a 10-year loan with an interest rate of 5% or more.
She said the building fund has $5.2 million and the district plans to add an additional $2 million to it from this year’s budget surplus.
“This is another sting in the concerns of some of our customers,” Holmes told board members.
However, she was quick to point out that the district has upcoming construction projects in the next few years, including expansions to what will be the college building this year.
When the school opens in August, students in grades 4-6 will attend Prairie Grove Secondary School in the new Bush Street building, and Prairie Grove Elementary School, grades 7-8, will be in the old school complex. Plans are to add a ninth-grade wing to the college, as well as another addition.
Council members voted to file the review of a turf football field to gather more information, then voted to file the review of adding bleachers.
A representative from Stadium Pros Inc. gave two options for installing additional bleachers for the home side of the football field. One option could accommodate an additional 347 people for around $152,000, and the second option could accommodate 553 people for $237,000. The proposal included a grandstand for the student section for approximately $98,000.
After the meeting, council chairman William Dick said both projects would be good to have next year, but the council also needs to consider the growth of the district and have the money to provide halls. class for this growth.
In other news, Council gave informal verbal approval to Larry Oelrich and Chuck Wiley with the City of Prairie Grove for the proposed route for the Viney Grove Road extension from Bush Street to Buchanan Street.
Council members asked questions about the route at their April meeting.
Oelrich said the road extension is designed to cross one creek, instead of two, to save costs, and then align with Blunt Street on the other side of Buchanan. The city master plan shows that Blunt Street will eventually connect to the US 62 bypass.
“We’re at the point where we need to start designing the right-of-way. We’d like to get the go-ahead to proceed,” Oelrich told the school board.
Oelrich said any changes would increase project costs and the city would likely have to walk away from the expansion because of the price. As it stands, Oelrich said the estimated cost is $2.8 million.
Dick said it was “a bit of sticker shock” when he saw the design plans at the April meeting. “I had never seen this (plan).” He said the route made “much more sense” after hearing Oelrich’s explanation and the history of the project.
“We have a great working relationship (with the city) and we want to continue that,” Dick said.
Oelrich said the city will return in the future to have the school board sign right-of-way documents for the street.
In another action, the board approved:
• Hiring of Lauren Sands as a kindergarten teacher, KayLynne Waggle as a pre-kindergarten teacher, Austin Cunninham as a network administrator, two food service employees and a paraprofessional.
• Accepted the resignations of three teachers: Stephanie Wynn, Joshua Cook and Paige Warren.
• A memorandum of understanding between the district and the police department for three school resource officers. The memorandum says Resource Officer David Faulk will be in high school, Resource Officer Travis Stills will be in middle school, and Resource Officer Jacob Rollins will be in elementary school. However, all will float on each campus if necessary.
• A contract with Flood Janitorial to continue to provide janitorial services with a 9% increase and the additions of the new middle school building and two custodians for the annual cost of $580,136. The two guards are now employed by the district but will change and will be employees of the concierge company.
• ASBA property insurance for $99,367 for the 2022-23 school year; ASBA vehicle insurance for $15,282; ASBA Mobile Equipment Insurance for $350.
• A recommendation to approve 3% additional days for coaches working during the summer months at a cost of approximately $55,000.
• District Parent Engagement Plan for 2022-23 and School Improvement Plans for elementary, middle, middle, and high school. All these documents will be on the school’s website.