By Jeff Gallatin
North Olmsted Stadium Foundation and school district officials are asking the community to contribute to a fast-paced offense to help have a new turf field installed at North Olmsted Stadium ready by the start of the fall 2013 sports season.
Turf the Field, Phase 1 of the Foundation’s plan, was unanimously endorsed by the school board at its Nov. 15 meeting. Foundation Chairman John Kraft said the group plans to raise up to $1.5 million for installing a new turf field at the North Olmsted High School Stadium. Depending on what upcoming tests reveal, the track surrounding the field will also either be repaired or replaced. If a new track is needed, Kraft and foundation President Mike Raig said the group anticipates needing $1.5 million for the first phase of the project.
“We want to have this ready to go by May, so the work can get done by the start of the fall sports season in August,” Raig said.
Kraft said the centerpiece of Phase 1 will be the installation of the new turf, which will replace the grass field. In recent years, the poor condition of the grass field has caused some soccer matches to be postponed or moved to other fields. It also has prevented the band from performing, as well as delays and field problems for other events.
“The new turf field would prevent all of that,” he said.
Raig, an engineer and former school board president, said in order to get plans ready and a business found to provide and install the turf, they need to have the funds raised and available for use by May. He said the foundation is also arranging for tests to determine if the track and fencing surrounding it just needs repair or must be totally replaced.
In addition to the turf and track work, the foundation also plans to relocate the scoreboard to the south end of the field, install new goal posts and put in new long and high jump areas. A permanent donor recognition display is also planned for the north and south entrances.
School board members were pleased with the Foundation’s work.
“This is something which I truly believe can be the start to a lot of good things in North Olmsted,” Tom Herbster, president of the school board, said later. “Projects like this can bring a community together.”
Board member John Lasko said the group also has done a good job of being prepared for doing additional work on the stadium after the first phase is completed.
“I had some some concerns if there would be adequate provisions in place for additional phases and being prepared to find funding for that,” Lasko said. “But it’s apparent that the foundation is indeed planning to do what needs to be done to make this a successful project.”
Board member Terry Groden also noted that moving the scoreboard will make it easier for many people to view.
“It will be nice to be able to look and see what the score is,” said Groden, who frequently works in the concessions area, which currently has the scoreboard located behind it.
Herbster said later the board is prepared to support the effort by having some members speak about it to different groups and citizens, make information available to the public and have presentations and discussions at future board meetings as the project progresses.