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Ohio County Board of Education OKs $1.55 Million for WPHS Turf

photo by: Joselyn King

Dan Isaac, regional manager for Astroturf, addresses the Ohio County Board of Education Monday night.

WHEELING — Wheeling Park High School’s baseball field is in line to get Astroturf this fall.

Ohio County Board of Education members Monday night approved a contract with Astroturf for just over $1.55 million to do the installation.

“It would be completed this fall, but the contract extends to March in case we would have bad weather or something like that that would prevent them from doing it. But the plan is to do it this fall,” Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones told board members.

Member David Croft asked Dan Isaac, regional sales manager for Astroturf, if the price included the cost of fencing.

Board members had previously asked for an itemized cost list noting the price of specific parts of the project – such as fencing. They had hoped to get a cheaper cost for the fencing by using a local firm.

Isaac said dropping the cost of the fence brings the total cost to $1.47 million, and that the board would have the opportunity to eliminate the fencing in the contract if they found a lower cost.

The board unanimously approved the contract with Astroturf.

“This was something that was needed at the high school,” board president Andy Garber said. “When we complete the field, it will look totally different there.”

There have been concerns expressed about unevenness in the outfield of the current field, which is natural grass.

In addition, rainy spring conditions often result in games being canceled throughout the baseball season. Meanwhile, the girls playing softball on the new athletic field with turf likely still will get to play following morning rains that drain off the turf by mid-day.

In another matter before board members, all students in Ohio County Schools will no longer have to pay to attend any of the school district’s athletic events — including those on the newly turfed fields.

Jones initially proposed that all WPHS students be permitted to attend all high school athletic events free of charge. He estimated this would cost Ohio County Schools about $10,000 annually.

But after discussion by the board, members asked if it would be possible to extend the privilege to all students at all grade levels.

Jones said he didn’t think adding middle school students and their games to the privilege would much more increase the school district, and the board agreed to include them in their motion that passed unanimously.

High school students will need to show their student identification to get into events, and officials “will figure out” a plan for the younger students, Jones said.

He added there may be a future request to also allow students into musical and theatre events without charge, but the cost is still being determined.

The board has called a special meeting for 8 a.m. on Aug. 18 to approve any last minute teaching hires for the district. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be at 6 p.m. Aug. 22 at the board office, 2203 National Road, Elm Grove.

The first day of school in Ohio County Schools is Aug. 23.

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