LISBON - The passage of a bond issue in the Beaver Local School District toward the construction of a new school building has raised concerns in the minds of many parents, including some whose children don't even attend school in the district.
The bond issue, which was approved by voters this past March, will fund construction of a massive building that will house grades K through 12. It will replace all five district school buildings, including Beaver Local High School, Beaver Local Middle School, and Calcutta, Rogers and West Point elementary schools upon completion, which is scheduled for the summer of 2015.
The site chosen for the new structure is on Bell School Road behind the current Beaver Local Middle School in Lisbon. That site includes part of the Beaver Local Fields, better known as the Old Timers Baseball Complex, where the East Liverpool Area Youth Baseball association has practiced and played its home games for decades. The district has owned the ball fields for several years and has consistently granted ELAYB use of the complex during youth baseball seasons.
A forgotten ball in the outfield grass at the former Old Timers Baseball Complex, now Beaver Local Fields on Bell School Road in Lisbon, awaits the site’s demolition. A March 2013 groundbreaking has been scheduled for the new Beaver Local K-12 school, which will be constructed there. (Photo by Richard Sberna)
A groundbreaking for the new school building is planned for early spring 2013, which roughly coincides with the beginning of practice for the youth baseball season. With both dates only months away, parents of ELAYB players have begun petitioning the BL Board of Education for consideration in their need for another location for game play and practice.
One of those parents, Ron Bryer, has addressed his concerns to the board. He referred to the passage of the school bond issue as a bittersweet occasion, saying that he's glad that a new school will be constructed for the children, but is saddened by the impending loss of the baseball complex.
"Most people never believed that the school levy would ever pass," Bryer said, which meant there was little worry amongst ELAYB parents about the future of the ball fields or their availability. Now that it has become a reality, however, Bryer says there are two important questions for the BLSD: Will ELAYB be permitted to play at one of the district's other ball fields at Calcutta, Rogers or West Point while the new building is under construction? And, once it is completed, will ELAYB be permitted the use of the new school's baseball facilities?
As it stands, the association is still actively searching for a place to practice and play baseball. Bryer says he would gladly accept either the use of an existing ball field or a donated parcel of land that ELAYB volunteers could develop into a workable ball field. In so doing, he wished to stress that ELAYB is a non-profit organization.
"The end goal is to find something that the league can go and use eventually," Bryer said. Although the team could make arrangements to play mostly away games in league play, he says the need for a practice space is still there, with no resolution in sight.