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School board considers turf for new stadium

May 17, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN

North Hagerstown High School's new home-field advantage might come on artificial turf.

Jack Metzner, president and chief executive officer of Conservit Inc., a scrap metal processing firm, told the Washington County Board of Education at its meeting Tuesday that the company would buy naming rights to the stadium's field for $250,000 if board members approve the installation of artificial turf.

"The stadium committee is very close to achieving our goal, almost an impossible goal," said Jim Brown, who has served as honorary chairman of the committee.

According to a presentation by John Williamson, a former chairmain of the committee, public funds for the project - including $117,000 in financing from the Washington County Commissioners, $100,000 from the City of Hagerstown and $200,000 from the board - total more than $1.5 million.

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"The stadium committee's request for public funds was reasonable based on ANY comparison," states a sentence on one of the last slides of the financial presentation.

The stadium, which will cost about $3.8 million after about $657,000 in donations of labor and materials, could be finished by August or September, Williamson said.

Harry Reynolds of Callas Contractors, which is overseeing the stadium construction, said artificial turf would allow more use at less cost than grass. The cost of installing turf is about $460,000, while the cost of installing a sod field is about $235,000, he said. Turf costs a few thousand dollars a year to maintain and can be used continuously, while grass can cost $28,000 to $50,000 a year to maintain, he said.

When asked by board member Roxanne R. Ober if he would recommend turf, which Reynolds said typically lasts 12 years, he was emphatic.

"Definitely," he said.

Board member Wayne D. Ridenour expressed skepticism and concern about the cost of replacing turf.

"I see that we're going to save money on maintenance. I'm not sure if we're going to see quite as much as I'm seeing in these figures," Ridenour said.

Maryland Metals Inc. would pay $100,000 that Conservit Inc. already has pledged to buy naming rights to the scoreboard, if the board approves turf, Brown said.

Because of board policy, President W. Edward Forrest said the board will have to consider Metzner's offer of naming rights at its next meeting.

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