Wednesday, November 24th, 2010
By Amy Kronenberger
School hires firm to build athletic complex
St. Marys
  ST. MARYS - School board members moved forward with plans to build a new football stadium and athletic complex at a cost of $221,260.
How the school will pay for the project has not yet been decided.
Board members on Tuesday voted to hire the recreational athletic design firm MSA Sport to design the facility. Board member Aaron Braun cast the lone dissenting vote on the hire.
Officials at MSA Sport, of MSA Architects in Cincinnati, hope the construction process can begin in late 2011 with the project completed by the 2012 fall sports season.
The first phase - design - will cost $47,000. Phase two - construction and finishing touches, such as landscaping - will cost $174,260. MSA Sport officials will begin working with school officials on a plan this winter and begin fundraising, they said.
Once completed, the complex will be located east of (behind) the new high/middle school off state Route 66. The complex will offer the following components:
• A new 2,200-seat home grandstand structure and press box.
• A 1,800-seat visitors stand and press box, which will be moved from Skip Baughman Field to the new facility.
• New restroom and concession facilities to serve the home and visitors sides.
• Storage facilities.
• Sports lighting.
• A new 600-space parking lot.
• Scoreboard relocated from the old field.
• New sound system.
• Fencing, walkways, plazas, etc.
Along with the athletic complex, board members approved the installation of electric lines and pole lighting for the walk path that will lead from the school to the athletic complex. The project will be completed by Fanning-Howey Associates of Celina.
Electric installation will cost $19,482.57. Construction of the light poles will cost $22,048. Both costs will be paid for from the school's permanent improvement fund.
In other action, the board approved an update of the middle school and high school handbook with the addition of a new suspension rule. The new rule allows students with an out-of-school suspension to receive a 63 percent credit for any correctly completed school work done during suspension.
Previously, the student received a zero for work done during suspension. Superintendent Mary Riepenhoff said the change still gives suspended students a failing grade but gives them the chance to pull themselves back up.
Resident Sandy Dove questioned the rule.
"Why punish the student twice?" she asked. "The suspension alone is enough of a punishment."
Riepenhoff disagreed, saying just giving students a few days off school was not enough punishment. Bringing the zero credit up to a 63 percent, however, gives them a fighting chance, she said.
St. Marys schools received an excellent rating this year from the Ohio Department of Education. However, the school did not meet federal standards in the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) report for the second year in a row.
AYP is a large part of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The report measures year-to-year student achievement on state-wide assessments. Riepenhoff said the school is working hard and taking steps to meet this federal standard. She will be sending AYP letters home with students for their parents, explaining the report and which steps are being taken.
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