Turf plans shelved

By Gabe Monte: CNJ staff writer

A proposed artificial turf for Leon Williams Stadium will have to wait.

The Clovis Board of Education tabled indefinitely a decision to install an artificial turf on Clovis High School’s football field during Tuesday’s visitation meeting at the Bella Vista Arts Academy.

The school district would use money from general obligation bonds to pay Pittsburgh, Pa.-based ProGrass to install the rubber turf.

Board of Education Vice President Terry Martin said he was hesitant to approve the project because he wanted to use general obligation bonds for other capital outlay projects.

“I’m not comfortable with where the funds are coming from,” said Martin who issued the motion to table the issue. “I would like to see our bond monies spent on things we need much more.”

The decision derails plans of preparing the field for the 2008-2009 school year, according to Clovis School Executive Director of Operations Gene Bieker.

The project would cost between about $350,000 to $560,000, depending on in-kind donations the school district receives, according to Bieker.

Bieker said K. Barnett & Sons construction company offered to donate foundation work for the field.

Board members approved the concept of using artificial turf for the field in the last meeting.

Clovis Schools Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm said switching to artificial turf would save the school district money in maintenance and would open the use of the field to more student groups such as the Clovis High School Marching Band and the CHS soccer teams.

“We have so many other groups that are going to benefit from this,” she said.

The stadium is currently used only for football games.

In other business, board members approved the sale of $6 million in general obligation bonds to The Baker Group and The Bank of Clovis. The money will be used for improving school infrastructure, purchasing equipment and qualifying for capital outlay funding from the states Public Schools Facilities Administration.

The money will be available to the school district within 30 days.