Monday, Sep 26, 2016
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Education

Scott High School stadium plan off-track

TPS budgeted only $1.1M; project cost to surpass $2M

Scott High School needs to jump high hurdles to get the stadium it wants.

The complete project, to be built behind the newly reopened school on Collingwood Boulevard, would cost twice what Toledo Public Schools has budgeted for stadium upgrades. And even if the money materializes, the district needs to buy, then demolish, some houses on Winthrop Street to fit in a regulation-sized track.

A scaled-down stadium might replace original plans, though those on Scott's renovation oversight committee say a first-class facility can, and should, still happen.

"After getting that building renovated," Scott alumni association President Avie Dixon said, "I think anything can be done."

The district's high schools were each budgeted about $1.1 million for renovations or upgrades to outdoor athletic facilities under the expansive Building for Success school construction program, TPS Chief Business Manager James Gant said. Even then, schools were told they would have to raise outside funds to build facilities they desired.

The stadium originally planned at Scott would cost more than $2 million, Mr. Gant said. The school either needs to pare down the project, or find more money.

"To get everything we want, there would have to be additional funding," Mr. Gant said.

Scott faces another complication: its location. Tucked into a residential block, there's not much room to expand. The district would have to buy three or four occupied Winthrop Street homes and then knock them down to fit in a regulation-sized track.

District leaders and affiliated architects are working on several solutions and have discussed the quandary with members of Scott's rehabilitation oversight committee, of which Ms. Dixon is a member.

One option could be a smaller site that includes a nonregulation-sized track, Mr. Gant said, that eventually could be expanded when more funds and space become available. But a smaller track would be useful only for practices, TPS Athletics Director Ed Scrutchins said, forcing Scott athletes to host meets at other schools. That's not a popular alternative.

"There's no one wanting a non-regulation track," Mr. Scrutchins said.

Ms. Dixon said she has hopes TPS will find additional funds to build a full-sized facility at Scott, pointing out the hurdle that alumni and Scott boosters cleared when they successfully lobbied for a restoration of the massive Collingwood Boulevard school.

But alumni likely must start a significant fund-raising campaign to help fill the gap.

"I believe that it would be possible again to motivate, activate, and inspire folks," Ms. Dixon said, "to help and supply the funding that's needed, so that we can really have a top-notch facility."

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: nrosenkrans@theblade.com or 419-724-6086.

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