Board supports soccer field regrading

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Members wonder if high school can field a team

By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

TELL CITY - The Tell City-Troy Township School Board agreed at a special meeting April 22 to contribute up to $10,000 toward work needed at a soccer field built near William Tell Elementary School.

Kenny Simpson told the board the Tell City High School Soccer Boosters had gathered $30,000 of the approximately $40,000 needed for the work, which will include regrading the field and some of the area around it, and installation of drainage tiles on either side of the field where players stand, modification of a sprinkler system, seeding and fertilizing.

"We were very fortunate to have some people come forward a couple of years ago and start that field and put all the work into it that they did," Schools Superintendent Ron Etienne said, "but like any new facility, it still needs some modification and some work, and Kenny represents a group of people who have come forward with a proposal ... and we are under a very tight timeline if we are to do that work this year."

The Tell City High School Soccer Boosters noticed some improvements were needed, Simpson told the board, so they had a survey done to determine the work needed.

The News reported in January 2007 the Perry County Youth Soccer League would fund completion of the field, including a concession stand with bathrooms, lights, a scoreboard and fencing.

It would also provide goals, nets, flags, benches and two sets of bleachers and buy initial home and away uniforms.

The school corporation would be expected to pay coaches, home-game referees, transportation costs for away games and utilities costs after the field is completed. Etienne estimated then yearly costs to the corporation would be $10,000 or $11,000.

Simpson said the boosters had been working with Lutgring Brothers, and that's who'd likely do the larger portion of the work. The boosters would do the seeding of Bermuda grass, which would need six weeks to "take hold ... it grows very fast, particularly in the summer," he said. Lutgring Brothers scheduled the work for the third week of May, and work could be finished by first part of June so the field could be ready for the soccer season.

The Bermuda grass will be a "Riviera type," Simpson explained, which "greens up quicker in the spring and stays green longer in the fall."

The boosters would overseed the field with rye, probably in September, he continued, to come up as the Bermuda dies off to provide a good playing surface for players to use until it dies in the late spring, when the Bermuda would again emerge. The field would be reseeded with rye the following fall.

Board member Dr. Gene Ress said girls and boys had to be combined last year to form a single junior-varsity team and asked about the potential of having a team ready to compete this year.

Earlier that day, High-school Principal Dale Stewart "said he was worried about the numbers," said Bruce Chinn, assistant to the superintendent.

"For the girls and the boys, or for the total team?" Simpson asked.

"I took it as the total team ... for the varsity team," Chinn replied.

"I haven't heard about any problem with the numbers," Simpson said.

"I think it would be an asset to the school system to have a soccer field," Ress said, "but if we don't have a team to use (it), it doesn't make a lot of sense in times of short money ...."

He pledged $2,000 from the Glenn Ress Memorial Fund, and said a moment later, "I'd like some assurance that we could field a team that could compete in the tournament."

Simpson said he has seen "quite a few boys" playing at the field next to the Tell City ranger station.

The board is aware a junior-high team exists, and board member Larry Bryant asked, "does that affect the decision on whether we fix the field or not ... if we don't have a varsity team, are we saying we're doing away with the program in this corporation?"

"We won't be able to answer that until we know what the numbers are," Etienne responded.

At Bryant's suggestion, a motion by Ress to authorize the work was made contingent on having enough players to field a varsity team, which Etienne was to ascertain.

"I'm not against a field," Ress said, "but I'm against an empty field."

Board member Tom Holm noted that the field would be used by other programs, and "four or five years ago we spent well over $100,000 for lights on a baseball field that we don't own. It's part of a community thing, so, when you look at it in that respect, this is pretty easy. Donations are three-quarters of the cost. I'll go ahead and make a motion right now that we support up to $10,000 on the work."

That was taken as a second to Ress' motion, which the board approved.