Board weighs options for field upgrades

School district may use cost savings from project to add amenities to complex
By 
JOE POIRIER
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Grafton School Board on Monday discussed adding more amenities to the baseball/softball complex at John Long Middle School.

In June, the board accepted a proposal to complete infield turf projects for the varsity fields in time for the 2020 season for $369,000. It also considered adding a portable mound for about $12,000.

Because the total cost of the new varsity fields is approximately $200,000 less than originally estimated, board members decided to consider additional upgrade options. Those options include installing synthetic-turf foul-line extensions, new backstops and concrete dugouts to the varsity fields. 

Business Services Director Topher Adams said that if the upgrades occur after the turf is installed, the amenities would cost an additional 10% to 20%. 

The board unanimously agreed to seek formal bids to move the junior-varsity fields from the high school to middle school.

The cost of relocating the fields is estimated at $289,960. The project also includes replacing the backstops, extending the fence 100 feet along the foul lines and enclosing the dugouts with fencing. Officials said the fields would be ready for the spring 2021 season.

Adams said the total cost of the budgeted projects is estimated at $670,950, leaving a surplus of $129,000. 

Last year, the district budgeted $800,000 from its fund balance for the fields, with the cost to be defrayed by donations from area businesses.

Board member Jerry Rossi suggested tabling decision on additional upgrades until bids are received for the JV fields. Member Mark Koehler said there are grading issues with the varsity outfields and recommended that becomes a priority.

Koehler also questioned if the proposed backstops are the correct size for the varsity fields, saying the 40-by-30-by-40-foot backstops would be too large for softball and not big enough for baseball.

School Board President Paul Lorge said the board should take an incremental approach to the upgrades and make a final decision in winter.

“We don’t have enough information to make a good decision at this point,” he said.

Lorge said the board may hold a special meeting in September to approve the backstops.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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