Troy school board discusses possibility of turf fields


By Jordan Green

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TROY — The Troy City Schools Board of Education held their monthly meeting this Monday, Feb. 14. The meeting began with presentations, including one by Director of Athletics Dave Palmer on the Field Turf Project.

The plan would provide a new turf field for Memorial Stadium and completely revamp Ferguson Field by fall of 2023. Currently, both locations utilize grass fields, which require maintenance and are easily damaged during practice and games. Due to these factors, games are split between the two stadiums with varsity events being held at Memorial Stadium and sub-varsity events being held at Ferguson. This plan would allow for a more optimal utilization of both fields and provide year-round practice space for all Troy sports teams.

Ferguson Field would be rebuilt, changing the orientation to north-south facing. This would eliminate issues of players facing the sun during games. The field would be expanded to a regulation size soccer field, and it would take over as the predominate soccer field for Troy teams. Four new LED light towers would be built to allow for night games. Additionally, new bleachers and a new press box would be built while keeping the existing restrooms and entrance.

Memorial Field would be getting a new turf field to replace the existing grass one. This eventuality was prepared for during the track renovations a few years back, and some of the foundation for a turf field are already in place.

Early cost estimates for Memorial Stadium’s new field are $1.3 million and $2.6 million for Ferguson Field. The funding for these fields would be entirely private with money raised through athletic and marching band booster groups. A verbal commitment for a large, private donation has already been made, said Palmer.

However, concern was raised by Board President Sue Borchers about the price of the eventual replacements in 10-15 years. “The good thing is, you put that $1.3 million in, and you don’t have the same costs 10-15 years down the line. The base is fine,” said Palmer. He estimated that it would be 60% of the original cost to replace it. The savings from eliminating the maintenance of grass fields and revenue from hosting tournament games would be set aside to help cover that cost.

The board agreed to get figures on how much they would save in maintenance costs and make in potential revenue from hosting games and to discuss further at the next board meeting.

Also on Monday, High School Principal Dave Dilbone gave a presentation on Troy High Schools’ Plans for Learning. The school will be changing graduations requirements for the class of 2026 and beyond and adding new courses for the 2022-2023 school year.

Next, bids for a partial roof replacement at Troy High School and HVAC improvements and alterations at Troy Junior High School were considered. The lowest bids for both passed unanimously. These projects will be paid for through the district’s Permanent Improvement Fund and some federal funding provided for COVID relief, called Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds, will be used for the HVAC project.

A resolution to allow Treasurer Jeff Price to pursue refinancing on a bond passed 5-0. The bond, issued in 2013, was used for renovations at three elementary schools and the high school. This resolution would allow Price to refinance at a time when market conditions are favorable for the district within a one-year time frame.

Last year, a bond from 2012 was refinanced allowing for savings of around $500,000. With higher interest rates in 2013 and volatile market conditions presently, “if we were in the range of $300,000-$500,000 [in savings], we will move forward,” said Price on when he will refinance.

The course of study for the 2022-2023 school year was approved unanimously.

At the end of the meeting, during the second hearing of the public, a parent brought an issue to the school board’s attention. The parent’s child wore a shirt with the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon” — a political slogan used as a negative reference to President Joe Biden — written on it.

Teachers at the junior high school, citing dress code violations, insisted he turn the shirt inside-out or replace the shirt with one provided by the school. After refusing, the parent stated the child was sent home. The parent alleges that it was not a violation of the dress code, citing anecdotal evidence, and said their child was being punished for expressing political beliefs. The school board, which does not often discuss these issues publicly, noted the concern before adjourning to executive session.

No action was taken following executive session.

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