Lincoln OKs track, football field upgrades
LINCOLN — Athletes, other students and the community may benefit from an artificial turf on Lincoln High School’s football field and a new rubberized track surface around it.
The School Board approved the projects recently with work to finish before the beginning of the school year.
According to the School District, the new turf and track surface will be paid for through a partnership between the Wolfpack Foundation and the district.
Deon Birkes, Lincoln High School assistant principal and district athletic director, said the cost of the upgrades will be about $900,000, with around $90,000 due annually on a 10-year note. The district will contract with Geo Surfaces of Baton Rouge, La., for the project.
Superintendent Mary Ann Spears said the district likely will finance the projects with a loan. She said the district would advertise for bids, seeking the lowest interest rate, and would finance $800,000 of the cost.
Lincoln spends about $30,000 annually for maintenance on the field, Spears said. That money will be dedicated to the annual debt payment with the hopes the foundation will provide the balance through fundraising efforts.
“We’d like to be able to say we did this without taxpayer money,” Birkes said.
Birkes, who serves on the foundation board, said the foundation has secured $36,500 in annual sponsorshipss. The artificial turf, he said, offers a twist for sponsorships because ads can be installed into the sideline surfaces.
He anticipates businesses will want turf ads.
Birkes said artificial turf will end the need to bus football players to the middle school field for practices.
He also said that he would no longer need to “chase people off the field for fear they’ll damage the turf.”
Spears said the artificial turf and rubberized track will give the school the ability to offer additional programs for students.
Board members also congratulated Michele Price and Stan Karber, Lincoln Middle School principal and assistant principal, for being selected as a Middle School of Innovation. The designation was sought to gain statewide recognition for changes the school is making to instruction.
All students continue to receive traditional classroom instruction, but students may apply for two other approaches to learning, I-School and Wolf Learning Academy. Price said more information and how students and parents may apply will be announced later.