New turf on the football fields.
New lights for the other sports.
New buildings for the ag departments.
It’s all coming soon to Tipton County Schools after the school board approved a project timeline at Thursday night’s meeting.
“Our kids deserve the best,” said director Dr. John Combs.
Already approved earlier this year, the installation of turf at the three high school football fields is expected to begin its first phase with a geo tech survey next month. This will help determine the soil composition for the turf base preparation. This will cost $90,000 between the three high schools.
Turf installation, which will cost just over $3 million, will take place from November through March and has been included in the 2021-22 budget.
From there, football stadium light upgrades totaling $479,839 will be completed from July-September at each high school. Both of these costs are included in the 2021-22 budget.
During the same period of time, the district’s soccer field will see lights installed, a budgeted project which will cost $717,555. This is expected to be completed before the girls’ soccer season begins in the fall. The cost is so high, Combs said, because none of the fields is currently lit.
The softball and baseball fields will also receive lighting upgrades, expected to be completed from December to February at a cost of $220,429 for the softball fields and $356,374 for the baseball fields. The district’s fund balance will be used to cover this cost.
From May until July 2022, the tracks at the high schools will be resurfaced. Each will now have a regulation surface while Brighton High School has the only regulation-length track. This will improve the performance of the district’s runners and reduce physical ailments, such as shin splints. Resurfacing may also mean track meets can be held at BHS. Local track teams are only able to compete at schools outside of Tipton County. The total cost will be $384,700, funded by the fund balance.
Ag programs see $350K each for expansion
Tipton County’s sports teams aren’t the only ones with upgrades and new projects on the horizon.
Each high school’s agriculture department received $350,000 and has a plan in place for its use.
At Brighton High School, Cardinal Farms, which is the department’s agritourism project, will see a new Cardinal Farms Food Lab and distribution center, farm equipment and supplies, greenhouse, farmer’s market, hayride trailer and pavilion with restrooms. It will be located on the east side of Hwy. 51, adjacent to Brighton Elementary School.
At Covington the department will have CHARGER Station, a 100×60’ barn, constructed near the ballfield on Hwy. 59 South. The barn will sit on nearly five acres for pasture, research and growth projects with sheep, hog and goat pens, restrooms, a feed room and loft storage. Land-locked and without room to grow on campus, the school’s ag department currently houses animals at former ag teacher Ted Turner’s residence. The school would like to expand bees, sweet potatoes, digital agronomy, agricultural processing, and mechanics, among other things.
Munford’s Farm Fresh project will expand its current operation to include a facility for marketing and distribution, culinary prep with commercial appliances, and a 41.5×60’ polycarbonate greenhouse. The school currently specializes in growing hydroponic lettuce as well as a veterinary program where small animals are spayed and neutered.
Each project is set for construction from July to November.
The board passed the project timeline and the cost for each will be requested as construction continues.
“We have the money and our kids deserve it,” Combs said, noting the $27 million fund balance.
Chief financial officer Peggy Murdock confirmed to board members each project, especially those in the budget, are directly related to education and the money cannot be used elsewhere, such as street paving.
“If the money isn’t spent on child benefit, it just sits there, right?” board member Steve Clark, a former educator, asked.
Combs confirmed the fund balance just continues to grow if it is not spent, noting it doesn’t benefit students if it just sits in the bank.
The fund balance has been used in the past, but never to bail out a budget, Murdock said.
“We have never had to go into the fund balance for poor planning,” she said. “We are fiscally responsible.”