ROCK CAVE – During the business portion of Tuesday’s Upshur County Board of Education meeting, members received an update on the progress of the Buckhannon-Upshur High School Girls’ Softball Team’s ‘Field of Dreams.’
The Field of Dreams is a committee of concerned residents working to build a softball field at Buckhannon-Upshur High School for the girls’ team. The committee chairperson, Brett Robinson, made the presentation during the BOE meeting. Robinson passed out photos of the work completed on the ‘Field of Dreams’ to date.
“We are actually setting the fence posts up there today,” Robinson said. “I provided you in the past with the different phases of construction and the first phase of that was to relocate and move the discus cage. That has been relocated, and we have decided to do additional grading in the outfield with funds available.”
Robinson said they are into phase two of the project, which is installing some of the fencing and the dugouts.
“We are well ahead of the pace we had anticipated,” he said, adding that his daughter has completed high school and moved on. “I have done more than I planned to do, but the project has me hook, line and sinker.”
Robinson said unfortunately, the group is now out of funds.
“Our expenditures to this point were in excess of $50,000,” he said. “That was raised through fundraisers and a couple of small grants I was able to get and community support through donations from businesses.”
“I would really like to do the dugouts and do some concrete work this year,” Robinson added. “Your bond has come to an end and it has since been renewed – we have $50,000 in it now and none of those funds have come from the Upshur County School BOE. We are a small piece of the pie.”
“I would respectfully ask that the BOE take into consideration – I feel like the BOE and the county should be invested in this project [because] all of the resources have come from businesses and private sources – and I just meekly ask that you guys consider putting forth funds for this much needed project.”
Robinson said having three fields in the county (at West Virginia Wesleyan College, Buckhannon-Upshur Middle Schools and a new one at B-UHS) would allow the high school and middle school girls’ softball teams to generate some good revenue.
“A ballpark estimate to finish the dugouts and the fencing is about $25,000,” Robinson said. “If there was a bare minimum, we will need $12,000 to do the dugouts and a very small retaining wall. I hope that has updated everybody enough.”
BOE member Alan Suder asked what the estimated deadline would be for completing that work should the board choose to contribute, and Robinson said he thought October because he wanted to beat the cold weather.
BOE President Dr. Tammy Samples told Robinson the request for money was not on the agenda, and so the Board could not vote on it that night; however, she asked Robinson to submit a cost estimate so it could be put on the agenda for a vote at a future BOE meeting.
The BOE voted unanimously to approve the five goals for the Upshur County BOE and the superintendent for the 2019-2020 academic school year. The goals are:
- The students of Upshur County Schools will demonstrate significant and continual growth in the acquisition of skills to be college and career-ready.
- All students will develop the personal skills and dispositions of wellness, responsibility, cultural awareness, self-direction, ethical character and good citizenship in an environment that is caring and safe.
- Foster effective communication and relationships with and among our community.
- Provide financial resources and services in order to support the goals and purpose of Upshur County Schools.
- Provide modern, efficient facilities conductive to college and career readiness standards and outcomes that responds to workforce and economic demands.
In other business, Upshur County BOE members discussed the property owned by New Community Church which includes 9.08 acres at 2024 Route 20 South in Buckhannon, adjacent to Buckhannon-Upshur High School. The BOE had an option to purchase the property and had placed a $2,000 down payment on the property.
“This is just going back to our option of the purchase agreement we had with New Community,” Stankus said. “They no longer have the property with the realtor … nothing in their mind has changed with our option to purchase … The realtor does have our $2,000, and they have asked for that to be sent back to George Carver, Upshur County Schools Business Manager. Then, we can give New Community Church another check to hold the property.”
Stankus gave an update on the proposed Tennerton Elementary School project for expansion. She said the project will cost about a $2.4 million and will be submitted for consideration to the School Building Authority.
“It is due Friday, September 13, 2019,” Stankus said. “Our presentation to the SBA will be later in December, so we will have some time to prepare.”
The next regular meeting of the Upshur County BOE is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24 at Hodgesville Elementary School.