Lincoln OKs track, foot­ball field up­grades

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS -

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.

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