BOE’s newly-formed committee talks turf field

EAST LIVERPOOL — Preliminary discussion began Tuesday morning by a newly-formed ad hoc committee concerning renovations to Patterson Field, including the possible installation of a turf field.

Superintendent Randy Taylor recently suggested formation of the committee, saying the athletic complex is in need of improvements, including the field’s composition and the stadium, with complaints heard about handicapped-accessibility issues.

The district in 2013 finalized a $1.3 million project at Patterson Field which included new locker rooms, restrooms and field irrigation, but money was not available for renovations to the seating areas.

The committee, composed thus far of school board members Sarah Porter and Richard Wolf (as members of the athletic committee), Taylor, Principal Jonathan Ludwig, Principal Jay Kiger and Athletic Director Josh Ludwig, met with Treasurer Kathy Jo Laughlin and buildings and grounds Director Sam Halstead. Wolf was absent.

Laughlin emphasized, “It has to be handicapped accessible,” saying even if just a section on each side.

Josh Ludwig estimated it wouldn’t cost more than $5,000 per year to maintain a turf field, with Halstead noting it currently takes 40 gallons of paint to paint lines on the field each time.

Laughlin noted there is already a nationally-bid, approved list of turf companies in place that would preclude the need to bid out such a project, but it was agreed quotes need to be obtained before any thought can be given to actually marketing the project to the public.

Donations and grants would be looked at for the turf project, according to Laughlin.

While talk centered around being able to use the field for purposes other than football if it had a turf surface, it was agreed the original deed must be reviewed to determine if there are any restrictions about its use, including renting the facility.

The property was originally owned by Monroe Patterson, who donated it in 1923 to the school district, which officially dedicated it in 1924 as the Monroe Patterson Athletic Field, according to the East Liverpool Historic Society website.

It has since seen two additional dedications including in 1934 when the 4,500-seat concrete bleachers were built at a cost of $73,000, using both local and federal funds, the historical website noted.

Porter said someone also needs to come look at the bleachers to determine whether they can be renovated or need to be replaced, and Halstead will arrange that.

The committee will meet again at 5 p.m. Dec. 28 prior to that night’s regular school board meeting.