Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Monroe schools considers sports field options

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

MONROE - When the Monroe Local Schools opens its K-12 complex next year, football and soccer will still be played at the current junior/senior high school.

But spending $2 million to $2.6 million would add a stadium at the new complex and provide enough fields to support community and school sporting events for several years, a study group says.

"Do it all at one time and do it right,'' said board member William "Rocky" Heflin, who was part of a six-member committee that studied the issue.

In a presentation to the school board this week, Heflin presented four options for consideration by the board of education:

• Build separate stadiums for soccer and football with natural grass, 3,600 seats for football, 1,000 seats for soccer and an 8,000-square-foot field house. Cost: $2.68 million.

• Construct a multiuse stadium that would seat 3,600, and include artificial turf and an 8,000-square-foot field house. Cost: $2.66 million.

• Build a new football stadium with natural grass at the school complex, use the existing stadium for school and community soccer, and construct a 5,900-square-foot field house. Cost: Just more than $2 million.

• Upgrade the current stadium, build the 5,900-square-foot field house at the new site and add artificial turf. Cost: $1.67 million.

Superintendent Arnol Elam said he would meet with city leaders in late January to discuss options so that the city and schools could work together to provide sports fields on the complex that youth sports organizations could also use.

Elam said he would also study how the district could pay for any of the options if the board of education decided to move ahead on one.

"I think they need to do the whole thing at the new site,'' said Monroe resident Tom Leeds, whose grandchildren attend Monroe schools. "It would be cheaper to do it now than later.''

Last year, the board agreed to spend $1.37 million from its general fund to modify original plans for the site that didn't include any sports fields.

The money will pay for eight additional elementary school classrooms; an eight-lane, all weather track; baseball and softball diamonds; six tennis courts; four practice fields; and additional parking.


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