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Lakewood boosters to begin campaign for artifical turf

HEBRON – Lakewood Athletic Boosters President Kevin Krier said boosters would be ready by the first of the year to begin soliciting funds to fund a $660,000 artificial turf field for Calhoun Field.

“We’ve had a meeting per week since the (Nov.) board meeting,” he said, where the idea was first presented to board members.

While school board members approved the project, they were clear that it is a community project, not a board project. The new turf is to be privately funded; the Lakewood School District is not responsible for the new turf.

Krier said previously that boosters would like to raise the money by May 1, 2014, so a new field could be installed during the summer, but realistically there is no set time-line. Work will not begin until all the money is raised.

“We didn’t want to start soliciting anyone until we had our ducks in a row,” said Krier. He said by the end of December all the promotional material will be printed and project supporters will begin collecting money. “We have some great people,” said Krier.

Krier explained previously that a state of the art synthetic turf field not only looks more professional than grass, it requires a fraction of the maintenance of a grass field and eliminates weather from being an issue. He said the field is used about 112 hours per season and there is very little time for the grass to recover if it is damaged. Krier said a turf field would withstand 3,000 hours of use before maintenance is required. He said a turf field can generate income for the district by renting it to tournaments and the district can host band competitions. A turf field is also safer for physical education classes, and such a field is “green,” because it is made from recycled material and can save up to one million gallons of water per year since it doesn’t need to be watered.

In other Lakewood news:

• Superintendent Jay Gault said Dec. 11 that the district did not receive funding through a “Straight A” grant, but the district would try again.

“We did make the cut for the first round,” said Director of Pupil Services Arnie Ettenhofer. He said there were 570 applicants and 359 made it through the first round of reviews. Only 24 applicants were funded. These 24 received the $100 million in available funds for this year. The second round of Straight A Fund grants will be released sometime next year.

“We will most definitely apply again in the second round,” said Ettenhofer. “At this time we have not received any feedback from (the Ohio Department of Education) outlining why we were not funded.”

Ettenhofer said the district’s application sought funding to purchase propane fueled buses. The immediate and long-term savings from lower fuel costs and longer bus life with less maintenance would be used to improve student achievement. “These additional monies would be used to supplement resources already being used to further impact student growth,” he said.

• Gault said installation of the the district’s long delayed solar energy project should begin in March. He said the configuration is finished, the agreements are signed, and “now we’re down to the permit stages,” he said. “It’s gonna happen,” but not until early March.

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