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South Callaway OKs baseball-softball upgrades

South Callaway OKs baseball-softball upgrades

June 12th, 2014 in News

South Callaway R-II Schools will move forward with more updates to its athletic facilities after approval for its school board Wednesday night.

The South Callaway Board of Education voted 6-1 for more than $330,000 to be spent on baseball and softball field improvements. The sports facility company, ATG Sports Industries, Inc., already approved for changes to the school's football field at the cost of $1.52 million will also take on the baseball-softball field project.

Superintendent Kevin Hillman said contracting with the same company for both projects will save the district money.

Plans are to build a baseball-softball combo field with a portable mound. Unlike the football stadium, bleachers will not need to be replaced. The package includes a baseball lighting system for $154,000 and a 50-by-30-foot storage building for $32,000.

Board Member Todd Mealy was the only "no" vote for the new facility, which he said was a "hard decision because that's a lot of money on the table." Mealy said he is a supporter of athletics, but struggled with the cost between maintaining the current complex compared to a new one.

Members also questioned if the baseball-softball field would be available for public use.

"Our intent is for our community to use our products," Hillman said.

He added that that he will need to speak with Athletic Director Tony Brandt about how interested parties can request to use the field. Liability and insurance were also concerns that Hillman acknowledged would need to be researched in order for the district to move forward with a field usage policy.

The district also approved the purchase of an all-terrain vehicle to replace two trucks in near disrepair for maintenance purposes.

"The trucks need more work than what it's worth," Hillman said.

The cost of the ATV came to $18,423, which Hillman said would save about $15,000 compared to buying a new truck.

In other news, Hillman and the board gave well wishes to Jill Brown, South Callaway's leaving early education principal. She will take the position as principal at Russell Boulevard Elementary in Columbia.

"I have really enjoyed working with her," Hillman said. "I feel like she has brought a fresh light to the early childhood building."

Her replacement will be Leigh Dunlap, who Brown said she's been training.

"I love the building. I love South Callaway. You're in good hands," Brown said at her last South Callaway board meeting Wednesday.

Brown reported that 95 percent of early childhood students have been in attendance 90 percent of the school days, surpassing the Missouri School Improvement Program 5 requirement of 90 percent of students in attendance 90 percent of the time. Her students also showed improvement in their DIBELS data, jumping to 77 percent from its 65 percent at the beginning at the school year.

Corey Pontius, elementary principal, and Gary Bonsall, middle school principal, were absent.

High School Principal Heather Helsel reported attendance at 85.6 percent. She said that was an increase from last year's 82 percent.