Perrysburg's Steinecker Stadium should be sporting artificial turf when the Yellow Jackets' football season kicks off this fall.
The school board last week awarded a $642,000 contract to the Motz Group of Cincinnati, which will do the work through a local subcontractor, Maumee Bay Turf of Oregon. The board also authorized a contingency fund for the project of $32,100 and architectural and financing fees of $45,000.
Treasurer Matt Feasel said that while the district will be financing the project with a 10-year bond issue, the $75,000-a-year loan payments are to be made by the athletic department and athletic boosters through gate receipts and fund-raising efforts.
More than $100,000 already has been raised, Mr. Feasel said. Ken Widdle, a 1974 Perrysburg graduate, has pledged a $500,000 life insurance policy that will be paid to the athletic department and boosters upon the death of his parents.
"He came forward and donated this policy to the athletic boosters and said, 'I'd like to get something going and get this project done.' That spurred things," Mr. Feasel said.
He estimates the turf field will save the district some $32,000 a year in maintenance costs.
Ray Pohlman, athletic director, figures it will save at least that much.
"Mowing the grass, watering, lining the field, the manpower to do all that work," he said. "And that's not even counting repairs - sprinkler heads that break, sod that goes bad, re-seeding, fertilizer just to maintain that green field."
With the synthetic surface, Mr. Pohlman said Perrysburg will be able to host more events, including soccer tournaments, lacrosse games, and the junior varsity football games now played on the youth field next to the stadium.
"It will be able to be used all the time because right now we have to pay attention to the weather," said Superintendent Tom Hosler.
While the artificial turf has a nine-year warranty, Mr. Pohlman said the district is hoping to get 12 to 15 years out of before it needs to be replaced.
"When it's time to replace it, we hope to have an account with enough money to replace it so we don't have to worry about some major fundraising," he said.
More and more high schools in northwest Ohio have artificial turf or have plans to install it. Both Springfield and Ottawa Hills are installing turf this summer - Springfield with proceeds from a 1.1-mill bond issue earmarked to overhaul the district's athletic facilities and Ottawa Hills through a community effort of fundraising and donations.