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The Oregon School board will be taking bids to install turf at the Clay High School Memorial Stadium.

“We have a real opportunity here with a private donation,” said Oregon City Schools District Superintendent Hal Gregory.

The school board had received five bids for the project – all coming in over $500,000. But Maumee Bay Turf Center offered much more, according to School Board Member Jeff Ziviski. The company, from Oregon, offered to waive its labor costs up to $250,000 and just charge the district for materials and equipment.

Due to language in the bid, which stated that labor costs “up to $250,000” would be waived, the board decided to rebid the project in hopes that Maumee Bay Turf Center will clarify its previous offer to mean that the total cost will be reduced by $250,000, said Ziviski.

Getting turf installed in the stadium has been discussed for years, said Gregory.

“We’re in the TRAC (Three Rivers Athletic Conference), and every other school has turf but Clay High School,” said Gregory. “Every school that we play football with in TRAC has turf. And the problem with our natural gas is really natural mud. We have all our high school and junior high school games at the stadium. We have probably 60 games per year in the stadium. Even Cardinal Stritch uses our stadium. It just gets used so much in the fall. The field is very loose, not rooted, so after the first driving rain, it gets all tore up.

The turf has a 10-12 year warranty, he added.

“That’s why most of these schools are going to it. So we want to do that,” he said.

“If Maumee Bay Turf is willing to give us a $250,000 in-kind donation, that’s very positive. When you get a 50 percent off deal,” he said, “it’s kind of hard to turn it down.”

The school board in a special meeting last week rejected the bids and plan to rebid the project. The board is hoping that Maumee Bay Turf Center will submit another bid in this second round that clarifies the donation. “We believe Maumee Bay Turf will rebid it with a donation, though we won’t know that until that actually happens.”

The owners of Maumee Bay Turf Center are Clay High School graduates, and “want to give back to their community,” said Gregory.

The balance of the cost of the project is expected to come from a $285,000 one-time Medicaid reimbursement from the federal government. The district vowed not to use local tax dollars for the project.

“That’s not local money being taken from the general fund. These are federal dollars coming in as bonus money for the services we’re providing kids. We’re getting that money back from the federal Medicaid program. That’s been in existence for the last six or seven years. We’ve been reimbursed before, but not to this extent.”

Funds will also come from athletic boosters and private donors, he added.

“Between the donations, one-time Medicaid money and the boosters, we have enough to get the project going,” said Gregory.

Gregory estimates that the district will save approximately $15,000 annually with the new turf due to cost cuts to maintain the field.

“That’s what it would cost to pay personnel to maintain the field,” said Gregory. “We will set that $15,000 amount aside each year until we need to replace the turf in the next 12 years. So the savings we’ll have over the life of the field will pay for a good portion of a replacement turf. When you replace turf a second time, you don’t have to do all the base work. You’re really just purchasing the top layer of synthetic turf. So it’s a lot less money.”

Gregory and Ziviski emphasized that funding would not come from the 3.95-mill operating levy passed by the district last November to sustain current programs and activities. The district had not had an operating levy passed since 2008. A 5.9 mill levy was defeated by voters in 2014.

“There’s not going to be any money from that 2.95 mill levy going into this project. That’s why we’re so excited about it. It’s an opportunity we can’t pass up. Our students are going to benefit. It’s about our students having access to facilities other schools have. We’re very fortunate we have a community standing behind us now,” said Gregory. “When we passed a levy, our concerns when the levy got passed were to maintain career tech and athletics. Voters spoke loud and clearly they wanted those things.”

 

 

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