BOE talks turf for HHS baseball field

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

The condition of the Hays High School baseball field dominated the discussion at the Hays USD 489 Board of Education work session Monday night.

Board members asked coaches and administrators to look at ways to address the field's deterioration after a motion at the Nov. 20 meeting to put artificial turf on the baseball field and soccer/football field died for lack of a second.

The district can't pump any more water from the existing wells than the current allotment, Deputy Superintendent Richard Cain said.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture Water Resources in Stockton said the district could drill a new well only if it could prove it was drilled into another aquifer than Big Creek. Cain said that would be costly and difficult to do.

"We only have 'X' gallons of water to water a substantial amount of fields," board member Alan Moore said.

"It's been an endless battle, not just the last two years," board member Sharon Befort said.

Board President Darren Schumacher said he had been contacted by the company that put down the artificial turf at Larks Park. They asked the board to consider putting turf on the infield and planting Bermuda grass in the outfield.

Schumacher said they estimated the cost would be $250,000 to $300,000.

Turf could be paid with capital outlay funds, but sod and water costs would come from the general fund, Cain said.

The board needs short-term and long-term solutions, Befort said.

The board also has asked Cain to get costs to hook the current irrigation loop to city water and use city water when their wells go dry. Board members asked Cain to bring the information available to the Monday night meeting.

Board members who attended the Kansas Association of School Boards convention reported on the meetings.

Richard Kraemer said the breakout sessions were informative, and Marty Patterson said health insurance rates could increase 10 percent to 15 percent.

Superintendent Will Roth told the board the no-fund warrants will be paid off this year. He asked the board to consider if they want a resolution early next year to continue the one-half mill levy to buy new textbooks.