Superintendent Michael Lamb addressed the Sulphur Springs School Board Friday at noon during a special meeting in the Superintendent’s Conference Room at the Administration Building on Connally Street. Lamb focusing opening remarks on a variety of construction projects in recent years providing adequate space for a variety of programs from a new Fine Arts Wing to the remodel of buildings and new academic programs and personnel added because of the improvements. He commended the success of the health science services that has been added along with other upgraded programs including math and science courses. He acknowledged that the local board has focused on all facets of school life while making improvements to facilities over the past 10 year period (see list of improvements below). With those opening remarks, the Sulphur Springs School Board discussed several projects that are sports related during the special meeting.
Lamb calls the improvements to the sports fields an endcap to the 10 year improvements that have been made in the local district.
A new baseball field west of the current high school track was approved by the board. The baseball need is an outgrowth of the use of Prim Stadium for soccer and for a remodel of the stadium that will include additional parking. Scheduling is difficult with the proximity of both baseball and soccer. Foul balls hit out of the baseball stadium onto the soccer pitch create dangerous moments. The new baseball field will also allow more practice space for junior varsity and freshmen teams. The new baseball field will be an in-house project and also utilize local sub-contractors. Lamb said the work may not be completed by next season but being able to start on the project will speed the process. He said it is probable that the 2017 baseball season will be at the present field. However, construction steps can get underway for the new field. With the new baseball field, 250 parking spaces will be added for Prim Stadium.
The board also approved a two-step process that includes addressing the drainage issue and building a new field. Drainage at Lady Cats softball field will be answered by a new design for the field according to Lamb. He said a temporary fix is not enough. Lamb said engineers will design improvements that will create a long term answer to the need. Water coming off the tennis courts is only part of the problem. Some first steps should be accomplished prior to the 2017 season. Again, he noted that the completed new field would probably not be finished prior to next season but the new field should be in place for the 2018 season. Lamb did point out that any drainage fix performed this year would fit into the future field that will eventually be put in place. New bleachers, dugouts, and lighting will be a feature of the new field for the Lady Cats.
Remodeling of Prim Stadium will include a new home side, pressbox, and a turf field as well as additional parking. The board approved Gallagher Construction Services, called by Lamb a well-known builder of stadiums, to serve as construction manager agent. Potter Architects, who designed the remodel of the school/civic center auditorium was chosen for design services for the remodel of the football stadium.
Financing for a parking lot improvement and for a portion of the football stadium remodel will use local money as it begins. Lamb told the board that funds have been managed well over the years. He pointed out that over the past few years, $8 million dollars have been spent in improvements but the reserve funds have only fallen $2 million. The school funds used in the remodel will be repaid by a future financing.
Lamb stated that one means of future financing is a maintenance tax note allows the school to borrow money at a low rate of interest for repairs and remodeling. A maintenance tax note cannot be used for new facilities. Redoing parking lots, the remodel of the football field and of Lady Cat Park qualifies for this type of financing. Only the pressbox at Prim Stadium and the baseball field cannot be covered by the maintenance tax note. The resolutions for reimbursement of General Fund from proceeds of a future financing were approved by the board.
Projects over the past 10-years include:
New Fine Arts Wing 2006
Douglas Remodel/Classroom Addition 2012
Multipurpose Building 2012
Middle School 2012
Upgrades to SS Elementary 20012
Remodel Austin School 2012
Upgrades to both High School gyms 2013
Remodel and Renovation to Culinary Kitchen 2013
Remodel Training Room/Cheerleader Practice 2013
Lamar and Bowie Abatement 2014
Tennis Courts 2015
Auditorium Renovation 2016
Commitment to Personnel:
Special Education Services (19)
Academic Support (4)
Career and Technology Education (3)
Double Blocked Math (6)
Police Force (3)
Instructional Technology (4)
Counseling Services (4)
Behavior Support 2
Spalding Phonics Curriculum
Reading A-Z Program
Esparonza for Bilingual and ESL
Daily 5—Reading Process
Capturing Kids Hearts Training
New Security Vehicles
Read 180 Program
Double Blocked Math Class