Ready for a turf field? School board to vote on proposal later this year

Changes are coming to Brownstown Central High School’s athletics facilities.

At a recent school board meeting, the corporation announced a turf football field and an eight-lane track will be included in the scope of the 2018 construction project.

The board said the plan is in the works, and it is working on finalizing the project.

The school board will vote on the proposal during a meeting in October.

The corporation has $4.5 million available in debt service next year.

Corporation business manager Jade Peters said the new projects will not raise property taxes, as all costs are within the debt service fund.

While not finalized, Peters said it’s estimated the turf and track costs will be around $1.25 million.

The announcement comes after more than 150 people attended the school board meeting in March.

Multiple speakers attended the event, including athletics directors, football coaches and a turf company representative.

All of the speakers were in favor of the turf.

At the meeting, there was no vocal opposition to the proposed project.

The football team’s POPS Club presented copies of a petition with more than 1,400 signatures in support of a turf football field.

This year, the school will be putting in a new grandstand at Blevins Memorial Stadium.

The project, which Peters said will cost $540,000, will start next week.

There are currently more than 230 students from third to 12th grade involved in the Brownstown Central football program.

All of the football teams play games on the high school field, and the high school team uses two grassy areas across the parking lot for practices.

Once the turf is installed, practices will be on the field, and a part of the current practice fields likely will be eliminated to make way for additional parking spaces.

Peters said to maintain a turf field, it costs $2,500 a year. The school currently spends $31,500 a year to maintain the game and practice fields.

He said that the school believes that the field will increase hours of usage from 300 hours on grass to over 1,000 hours a year on turf.

Other teams and classes from all Brownstown schools will be able to use the turf field, too.

“I was excited for the football program but more important excited for the school corporation and community,” Brownstown Central football coach Reed May said of the turf project.

“I think there are a lot of things that people don’t realize the benefits at first. Once it’s in, I think it will be ‘How did we go on without it?’ It’s amazing everything you can do with it.”

For the track and field teams, adding two more lanes to the existing six lanes allows the program to host more meets.

The Braves can host the Mid-Southern Conference meet and potentially a sectional in the future with eight lanes.

“We used to have some big meets here,” Brownstown Central boys track coach Derrick Koch said. “We used to host BCHS relays, and we lost that because a lot of teams didn’t want to come here for that. Hopefully, we can get conference, maybe a sectional or some big invite down the road.”

Koch said it makes sense to do the track and turf project together.

“We need an update, and I’m glad they chose to do it with the field because it makes sense to do it all at the same time,” Koch said. “We have some good athletes here at Brownstown, and I think they deserve a great place to compete.”

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Jordan Morey is sports editor at The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at jmorey@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.