Turf & track to be replaced in 2020

Posted on: October 22, 2019
photo of turf

The artificial turf and running track at Little Miami High School’s stadium will soon be getting facelifts after the Board of Education approved a replacement plan Tuesday, Oct. 22.

The Board voted 5-0 to approve the proposal from Athletic Director Keith Pantling that calls for replacing the turf, resurfacing the track and other small facility updates at a total cost of $1.15 million, using no taxpayer dollars for the projects.

The turf was installed in early 2008 and is nearly two years past its expected 10-year lifespan. The running track is original to the stadium, built with the high school in 2000. The asphalt surface has worn away to the base in several areas and has several dips and cracks that present the potential for injury to athletes, Pantling said.

The replacement proposal calls for new turf carpet, and the milling and replacement of the track with a new urethane running surface at a cost of $851,583. All work would be completed by the Motz Group, the company that originally installed the turf. Also built into the plan is the installation of “backstop” netting which will allow track athletes to practice safely while soccer or lacrosse teams are using the turf. Other projects in the proposal include restoring the junior high baseball and softball diamonds, adding endzone play clocks and adding storage space for equipment. A ten percent contingency has been built into the budget for any potential infrastructure issues.

Financing for these projects will come from several sources outside of the district’s general fund, Pantling said, and will not rely on small pledges that were used when the turf was initially installed. The Little Miami Athletic Boosters have committed $15,000 for the next ten years toward the project, along with $65,000 annually for ten years from district facility rentals. The largest funding source is a $550,000 advertising agreement with Side Effects, Inc., which includes the addition of a new video scoreboard at the stadium, allowing additional space for advertising. The video board upgrade is paid for through smaller advertising commitments at no cost to Little Miami. The agreement also allows Side Effects to solicit for naming rights of the sports complex, individual fields, press boxes and sideline signage opportunities.

The stadium was known as Hi-Five Field until the end of 2018 when Hi-Five Development declined to renew their 10-year naming agreement.

On the eve of joining the Eastern Cincinnati Conference, Pantling said it is important to continue to invest in the district’s athletic facilities, maintaining what the district has and improving where possible.

“We’ve carefully assessed what we have, where we want to go and how to get there,” he said. “We’re focused on making fiscally responsible enhancements to improve the student experience.  We’ll continue exploring short- and long-term opportunities - consistent with this mission - to carry on the positive trajectory of Little Miami Athletics.”

With the approval of this plan, work is expected to begin at the stadium in May 2020 with completion by mid-summer for the turf and mid-August for the track.

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