Upgrades to athletic facilities at Whiteland Community High School will cost no more than $3.5 million, but exactly what that will include is being worked out.
The Clark-Pleasant school board set a cap this week for the proposed construction project and started moving forward with plans to borrow $2 million to help pay for the project.
Early estimates for the renovations, which include installing artificial turf at the football stadium, expanding the track, renovating locker rooms and adding a practice field for the band, were
$3.5 million to $4 million.
“We’re setting ($3.5 million) as the project ceiling,” Superintendent Patrick Spray said.
When officials created the list of upgrades, they included a list of cost-cutting options that would reduce the price. One decision that has helped lower the price was opting to add 5,860 square feet of space to the football team’s locker room — about 1,200 square feet less than the expansion that was proposed in August, Spray said.
Other details of the projects, including the length of the band’s practice field and the type of material the track will be made of, will be decided once the school district gets bids from construction companies next month, Spray said.
For example, right now the plan is to create an 80-yard-long practice field for the band. If bids come in lower than expected, the school district could decide to extend the practice field to the full length of a football field, Spray said.
Clark-Pleasant could add work to the project if the bids are low enough, such as converting a building near the football stadium and track, currently used for team meetings, into a training facility, Spray said.
If the board approves one of those bids, construction could begin as soon as the winter weather allows, Spray said. School officials want the project complete by the end of July, in time for the start of the next school year.
Along with borrowing $2 million, officials hope to receive $600,000 to $800,000 in donations or sponsorships to help pay for the renovations. Athletics director Ken Sears tried two years ago to find businesses and residents willing to make donations for athletic renovations, but those donations topped out at about $125,000.
No businesses or individuals have committed to donating or contributing, but conversations are taking place, and Spray said he is confident those dollars will come by spring.
“I feel like we’ll get there,”
The rest of the costs of the project, which aren’t covered by donations and the money the school district is borrowing, will be paid for with property tax dollars and other fees. The money would come from a fund Clark-Pleasant collects to pay for building maintenance and upkeep, known as the capital projects fund, or the school district’s construction fund, which is collected from items such as rental fees the school district gets from leasing land for cellphone towers.
The school district also could use those funds to make initial payments if any donations for the athletics project are spread out over several years. Once those donations came in, it would then pay back the two funds, Spray said.
Next month, Clark-Pleasant officials should receive bids and are expected to take a final vote on whether to move forward with a construction project at Whiteland Community High School. Here are the details:
- Artificial turf for the football stadium
- More lanes and a new surface for the track
- A practice field for the band
- More space for lockers, offices and meeting rooms for the football team
Cost: The project will be capped at $3.5 million.
When: If approved, construction would start as early as possible next year and be complete by the end of July.
The plan for proposed athletic renovations at Whiteland Community High School includes several initial and alternate project plans. The projects that will be selected depend on how much contractors say the overall project will cost. Here are some examples of the initial and alternate plans:
Flooring for locker rooms
Initial bid: Carpet and tile
Alternate bid: Rubber flooring
Initial bid: Base product
Alternate bid: Multiple options could be considered
Band practice field
Initial bid: 80 yards in length
Alternate bid: Full length
Initial bid: One pole vault
Alternate bid: Two pole vaults
Initial bid: None
Alternate bid: Renovate a team meeting room to include a training room