SYRACUSE — Wawasee High School’s football field will have a significantly different look by August. During the regular monthly meeting of the Wawasee school board Tuesday evening, April 18, in Syracuse, the board approved entering a contract with Cincinnati-based The Motz Group for a new artificial turf field to be installed at the high school this summer.
The cost will be a maximum of $825,000 and will be funded through a bond issue. A dual fiber composite will be used for the field, which will also include an extra layer of padding.
Kim Nguyen, principal of WHS, said the artificial turf will mean much more usage compared to the current grass field, which has only been used 30 times total during the current school year. He noted in the past use of the football field was restricted out of concern the field would be torn up too much. But now the field could be used year round unless there is severe weather.
“The community will be able to use it now,” Nguyen said, in addition to other sports teams and even the new nearby Syracuse Elementary could use it for PE classes. “It (the field) has a load of benefits and the biggest thing is it will bring the community and schools together.”
Rob Fisher, school board member, said at first he had difficulty approving the turf field due to the cost but changed his mind after he was told about the numerous benefits it can bring. “I feel a lot better about it now,” he said.
An artificial turf field will reduce the amount of maintenance needed, such as mowing and striping, and allow for workers to be used elsewhere more often. Warsaw and Goshen high schools have artificial turf fields and used The Motz Group to install their fields.
Installation of the new field will begin around mid-May and the goal is to have it ready for the first home football game in August.
In other business, the board recognized the robotics team from the high school who will be competing in the world championships beginning Thursday, April 20, in Louisville. Conner Erlenwein, Braxton Oberg, Luke Tyler, Taylor Large and Hunter Newlin will compete as a team in Louisville against 600 teams from 26 countries.
A robot was brought in for a demonstration to the school board, but had a slight bit of difficulty navigating on the carpeting, which is a different surface than what it is normally used on.
Also recognized was an FFA soils judging team from the high school who will be competing nationally May 1-5 in Oklahoma City. Bryce Wuthrich, Brooklyn McCulloch, Christy Carson and Madelyn Zimmerman make up the team.
In other business, during her report to the board, Joy Goshert, assistant superintendent, said the school corporation is working with PBL Ohio for project based learning professional development. A trainer from Ohio will come here to teach 35 elementary teachers project based learning 101, which is being funded through a Dekko grant.
A small group of Wawasee administrators and instructional coaches will visit a school district in Yellow Springs, Ohio, to learn about PBL. And due to receiving a state digital learning grant, several Wawasee principals, instructional coaches and teachers will be able to learn more about PBL coaching and the basics of PBL through training in Ohio.
Also during her report, Goshert noted the application for electronic learning during inclement weather days is not available yet for the 2017-18 school year, but she anticipates it to be available by May 1.