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Board takes first step for athletic facilities bond issue

MILLERSPORT – Walnut Township Schools Board of Education members took the first step Monday night to put a bond issue for athletic improvements on the November ballot. It was originally slated for an August special election but was derailed by a huge jump in special election fees.

The vote was 3-2, with President David Brookover and Faye Whitaker voting “no.” “All five board members support the project,” Superintendent Ron Thornton told The Beacon. “The timing is the issue.”

Track coach Ken Keener is leading a community effort to raise funds for an eight-lane allweather track. His Letter to the Editor this week explains that effort. “It’s a $1 million project without help,” Thornton said. Community donations will lower the amount of the bond issue.

The other projects included in the $1 million estimate are new football stadium lighting, restrooms and concession facilities plus a security fence around the new track and possibly new turf for the football field.

“This is simply the first step,” Thornton said of Monday night’s vote. “They have a month to talk with people.” The second resolution will be considered at the board’s regular meeting set for 7 p.m. on Monday, August 11. A special meeting will be required before August 25 if board members want to complete the process.

The November 4 election is also the first opportunity to renew one of the district’s two $250,000 a year emergency levies. The district has a year for voters to approve the renewal without a gap collection. That levy was briefly discussed Monday night and board members could still decide to place it on the Nov. 4 ballot.

In other business Monday night, board members approved a supplemental contract with Scott Pohlman to serve as athletic director. He replaces Mike Washburn, who as maintenance and transportation supervisor, simply has too much on his plate, Thornton said. The district’s facility improvement projects significantly increased Washburn’s workload and that projects will extend for at least another year. Pohlman is currently the softball coach and a regular substitute teacher for the district.

Board members also accepted Elizabeth Slater’s resignation as JV volleyball coach due to her college commitments.

Thornton said the phase 1 projects are on schedule. The new roof on the elementary school is 99.9 percent complete, while the new high school roof is about 65 percent finished. Most of the projects will be done in the next 10 days, with all of them completed by Aug. 15. A grass detention area has been constructed along Ohio 204 to temporarily detain storm water runoff from the now paved high school parking lot.

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