A $1 million project to improve Seymour High School’s football and track facilities likely will get underway in March.
The timing of the work, which includes installing a new artificial turf field and relocating track and field events, including shot put and high jump, may disrupt the spring track season this year, officials said.
Construction is scheduled to be complete by August, however, when football practice begins. The first home football game will be Aug. 26 against Jeffersonville.
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When the project is finished, all track and field events will be located to the west of the football field. The east end will be a football practice area.
The plans also call for a grassy detention area to the northeast of the field for stormwater drainage, but that could be changed to an underground retention system.
Seymour Community School Corp. board of trustees approved design specifications for the renovations and improvements during a meeting Tuesday night. They also gave the board permission to seek bids for the project.
Those bids will include alternates for resurfacing the entire track and a new two-story press box. Alternates will be approved only if funding allows, school officials said.
Matt Gullo with Kovert Hawkins Architects presented the plans Tuesday. He said the design specifications were created with input from coaches and staff.
The project is being funded through general obligation bonds the board approved late last year. Those bonds have not been sold yet but will be paid back through capital projects money. The district currently has around $6.4 million in its capital projects fund.
The school board has scheduled a public hearing at 6 p.m. Feb. 1 to review the capital projects fund budget and plan for 2016-18. A special meeting will immediately follow the hearing to adopt the plan and discuss the timeline for selling and repaying the bonds for the athletic facilities improvements at Seymour High School and interior renovation work at Margaret R. Brown Elementary School. That $1 million project also was approved last year.
Some parents said they are glad to see the district investing in its athletic facilities.
“I think it’s great,” said Amber Garner of Seymour. “These kids deserve something nice.”
Her oldest son is on the football team.
“We see all the hard work these kids put in and how much that stadium is used by the football team, band, track and gym classes,” she said. “I think it has been a long time coming for this. Not to mention, I think we have a nice stadium, and this will put the icing on the cake.”
Karrie Bevers of Seymour said she agreed and added the improvements could attract more and bigger athletics events to the school.
Her son plays football at Seymour Middle School, which is planning to use the new turf field for its home games.
Some said there are other athletics facilities that need attention, too, including the school’s swimming pool and tennis courts.
The district recently spent $2 million to move its soccer fields from Freeman Field Sports Complex to the high school campus. The fields, which also will feature an artificial turf surface, are under construction and scheduled to be complete and usable by the 2016 fall season.