While providing educational environments which create up-to-date learning opportunities for staff and students is the focus of the 20-year facility proposal which was presented to Mahomet-Seymour school board members on Dec. 4, the plan also included much needed athletic facility maintenance and upgrades.
Superintendent Rick Johnston believes all the facility upgrades and maintenance over the next 20 years can be completed without surprising Mahomet tax payers with increased tax rates. All proposals are based on conservative models which use money from the TORT fund, Champaign County Sales Tax Fund and the Health/Life Safety Fund.
While the district takes care of providing facilities which will not provide adequate room for student growth over the next 20 years, but also gives teachers and students the tools they need to grow, the district will also look to fix some long-standing issues in the athletic facilities.
Johnston proposed the district use sales tax dollars to refinish the MSJHS gymnasium floor during the summer of 2014. The gymnasium at MSHS was refinished two years ago.
He also recommenced the board use the Health/Life Safety Fund in the summer of 2014 to renovate the Track and Field Press Box. With rotting floor boards, the press box has been on the priority list since 2006. There are also liability issues with the MSJHS bleachers which need to be addressed in 2014. The district is also waiting on a $50,000 school maintenance grant, which will help with the cost of this project.
MSHS gymnasium bleachers could also be replaced within three to five years from the Health/Life Safety Fund.
Johnston proposed sales tax dollars be used for a turf field solution at Frank Dutton Field in the summer of 2016. He said the Mahomet-Seymour School Board will begin to investigate whether a turf field will be cost effective for the district.
While the football field is used for the football and outdoor track season at this time, the proposed turf field may provide solutions for marching band, soccer, football, baseball, softball and P.E. classes throughout the year. The soccer field press box, restrooms and concession stand at the Middletown field also need attention.
With many athletic teams using the MSHS gymnasium during the summer months, and graduation in the gymnasium in early June, Johnston wants to look into the cost of air conditioning in the MSHS gymnasium. He would also like to look into the cost associated with renting the Krannert Center for graduation ceremonies. Limited seating in the MSHS gymnasium restricts students from sharing their accomplishment with some family members.
School board members were also able to see the proposed layout of the 77-acre property off IL-150 on the east side of town which included the relocation of MSJHS to the property by 2025. In a buffer between the school and residential property, Johnston proposed the addition of two baseball/softball fields and a football field which will be used for use during the school day.
*In January, the Daily will share the District’s plan for technology upgrades in the schools.