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Board OKs plan to add artificial turf at storied Garnis Martin Field

From left, Bardstown Board of Education Chair Franklin Hibbs and Superintendent Ryan Clark.

By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 — Historic Garnis Martin Field will soon get a major upgrade that will replace the natural grass field with artificial turf.

The Bardstown Board of Education approved the first documents needed that to start the process to install artificial turf at the storied football field.

Todd Hood discusses the proposed plan to install artificial turf at Garnis Martin Field at Tuesday’s board of education meeting.

Superintendent Ryan Clark said artificial turf offers significant cost savings over natural grass in terms of upkeep and maintenance. While natural grass is affected by regular use, artificial turf is not, which means the field can be used nearly year-round by numerous sports and school activities.

“The most important thing is that (with artificial turf), its always open and available for kids,” he said.

The field can be used for practice without degrading the playability of the surface. “It can be used as playground space and other events as well,” Clark said.

The installation of the turf would begin next year after the football and soccer seasons are over, he said.

“I feel real good about making this a capital project for our district,’ Clark said.

The lifespan of an artificial turf field is guaranteed to last eight to 10 years, depending on the vendor.

Board member Jennifer Shrewsbury questioned the expenditure while understanding its benefits.

“This is not where I want to spend money, not al all” she said. But the fact that a synthetic field would allow more sports and more children to use the field would make the expenditure acceptable.

The board voted unanimously to approve the district’s BG-1 application for the project, which once completed, will be submitted to the Kentucky Department of Education.

Tracey Rogers, district treasurer.

TAX COLLECTION. The Bardstown City Schools is on track to collect 99 percent of the taxes the district is due from the tax bills sent out last fall.

That was the report from school district Treasurer Tracey Rogers at Tuesday’s board of education meeting. The high collection rate means the district is on track to collect $8.2 million of the $8.5 million due in local taxes.

Rogers said she will present the district with a tentative 2019-2020 budget at the board’s May meeting.

MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES. Lance Boston, the district’s director of special education, told the board that the district would like to provide space in the buildings for mental health professionals to work with students during the school day.

Board member Andy Stone asks questions during Tuesday’s board of education meeting.

The board also renewed annual agreements with three local mental health providers — Astra Behavioral Health, JP Interventions and Communicare.

Special Education Director Lance Boston said the district would like to establish a day treatment program in cooperation with Astra to provide more intensive therapy services for a longer period of time.

The service would be on to help kids who are struggling with a variety of issues, Boston said.

“We’re just looking for another way to help our families by making those services more available,” he said.

Right now the closest similar day treatment program is located in Louisville, he said, and driving there each day can be a financial hardship for some families.

Boston said he would bring more information to the board about the proposed program at the board’s next meeting.

The board also approved a professional services contract with Jennifer Mick, a board certified behavioral specialist who will provide her services on an as-needed basis.

In other businss, the board of education:

— with a projected increase of 58 students, the district is planning to add one teaching position at the middle school level. Todd Hood, the district’s director of instructional related services, said that if the enrollment numbers increase more than anticipated, the district may have to add additional staff.

— approved renewing the district contract with Betty Pendergrass as an audit consultant.

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