Beaver Local School Board to Consider Bids for $7M Field House
EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio – The Beaver Local Board of Education will review and consider bids on a nearly $7 million athletic field house.
The proposed facility is part of a project that came to light in 2020 when the district partnered with alumna Derek Wolfe, now retired from the NFL, and entrepreneur Jamin Pastore, who jointly donated $1 million for a turf field and athletic facility.
The turf field was completed at a cost of $375,000 and covered entirely by the two men’s donation. However, shortly thereafter, the Covid pandemic struck, causing costs to skyrocket and forcing the district to “put the brakes on the project,” Treasurer Stacy Williams said last week.
Williams proactively took advantage of low interest rates and was able to refinance the district’s bonds, returning roughly $2.8 million to the district for the capital project.
Also, the district has received a total of $4 million from the Ohio Department of Education in American Rescue Plan grant funding, of which $1.5 million will be earmarked for the athletic facility project.
“Our goal throughout the pandemic has been to be fiscally responsible and create a plan for using these grant funds that would be sustainable when the funding source is no longer available,” Williams said.
Among other uses for the grant funding has been school bus purchases, upgrading WiFi service, security cameras and other projects.
Deadlines for using the grant funding are looming, so Williams said school officials hope the bids will put the project within budget, allowing it to move forward.
Five contractors submitted bids for the project ranging from a high of $7,880,475 to a low of $6,811,500, which included the base bid and three alternatives.
The two low bids of $6,811,500 from Brock & Associates and $6,897,258 from C. Tucker Cope & Associates will be reviewed and considered by the board of education before any decision is made, according to Williams.
Designed specifically for district students and not for public use, the field house will be built in the lot currently used for parking near the Fighting Beavers Stadium along state Route 7 where the high school once stood prior to the district building its new K-12 campus on Bell School Road.
Williams said plans call for the facility to feature a cardiovascular fitness area, weight room, locker rooms and an indoor playing field. One option calls for one story, and a second option calls for a two-story facility.
According to Williams, when the new school was built and the old one was demolished, the district lost its locker rooms and storage areas.
“We are very much combining the needs and wants of the district [in this facility],” Williams said. “I am proud to say we are investing into our school and community by providing additional local opportunities for all students to grow and develop beyond the classroom in a place they can focus on their social, emotional and physical well-being.”
She said the money for the field house is in hand.
“The project calls for no additional costs to taxpayers in the form of levies and will not use any money in the currently planned district operating budget,” Williams said.
“The district has the current money to pay the remaining funds from the district’s capital improvement funds, or the district will take out a loan for $2 million and pay it back over six years, paying the loan out of capital improvement funds to not tie up cash flow,” she explained. “This is why the board still has to make a decision on moving forward. First, we get the bids to see what it costs; secondly, we determine how we will pay for it; third, we proceed.”
Superintendent Eric Lowe said the field house would allow the district to provide a place for students to grow and excel in the local community where transportation can often be a major factor in students participating in health initiatives, and can also put programs in place to meet the needs of students and prepare them for a lifetime of healthful options.
Lowe said the facility would benefit students for years to come and praised Williams for working hard on the project to refinance construction bonds, securing the grant funding and developing the partnerships with Wolfe and Pastore.
“We are encouraged that, with the use of these funds, this project could come to fruition,” he said.
Should the board of education opt to approve one of the submitted bids, groundbreaking on the new facility could take place in the spring, Williams said.
She said Wolfe and Pastore both intend to stay involved in completing the project.
The turf field is named Pastore Field, and architectural drawings of the new facility indicate its name will be The Derek Wolfe Fieldhouse.
Pictured at top: An artist’s rendering of the new Beaver Local field house.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify how the field house will be funded.
Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.