District Loan Fund for Athletic Improvements | Local News

The New Castle Area School District is borrowing funds through a Taggart Stadium renovation bond issue.

The funding will also cover repairs to Flaherty Field baseball diamond and the George Washington Intermediate School softball field.

At its public meeting on Monday, council voted 8-0 to borrow $3,097,000 through a general obligation note to complete all work, at an interest rate of 3.03%. The loan is for a period of 10 years. The rating is forwarded by Webster Public Financial Corporation in Providence, Rhode Island.

District business manager Joseph Ambrosini told the council that the district solicited bids for the loan to get the lowest interest rate possible.

The funds will be used to install new lights at approximately $430,000; replacing the turf at a cost of $247,076 and repairing and resurfacing the track at a cost of $254,000. All of this work is currently already under contract, he explained.

The board had also approved Musco Sports Lighting LLC of Muscatine, Iowa, as the winning bidder for the stadium lighting.

In addition to this work, the stadium will receive a new home dressing room costing between $540,000 and $700,000; a new visitor locker room costing between $285,000 and $350,000; a press gallery renovation at a cost of $450,000 to $475,000; and new toilets and a concession cost between $200,000 and $300,000.

Eckles Architecture and Engineering performs the design work and professional services, and charges 8% of the total project cost, excluding lighting. The price of the company is between $96,000 and $120,000.

The board, in a separate action, agreed on Monday to lease Flaherty Field for a further 20 years from the town of New Castle at no cost. The contract will expire in 2041. The district uses the field for district baseball teams and, under the agreement, is responsible for its upkeep. The old lease covered from 2016 to 2021.

The bond issue will also cover improvements to this field, including field improvements including piping, drainage and laser subgrading at a cost of $100,000; new bleachers will cost between $8,000 and $12,000; a new sound system from $5,000 to $7,500; and new fences, costing between $15,000 and $25,000.

Planned improvements for the softball field include laser-grade and interior drainage renovations costing $10,000 to $15,000; a new sound system between $5,000 and $7,500; and new bleachers costing between $8,000 and $12,000.

Ambrosini said the lighting, pitch and turf work at Taggart is already under contract and will be completed by the end of August when the football season begins. The architectural firm will publish tenders for the other improvements in June and contracts will be awarded in July, he said.

Work at Flaherty and George Washington will also be completed this summer, he said.

The money to repay the bond issue will come from the general fund, which is made up of taxpayers’ money.

The council is planning a public meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at the administration building for a preliminary presentation of the district’s 2022-23 budget.

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