BOE to hear Erickson fund pitch

PARKERSBURG – Members of Parkersburg South’s Erickson All-Sports Facility Foundation will be at next week’s Wood County Board of Education meeting to present a request for funds.

Rick Bush addressed board members at the last meeting requesting $500,000 in funding for athletic facilities improvements on the southside. Bush and others from Parkersburg South and the Erickson group have been invited by Wood County Schools Superintendent Pat Law to next week’s meeting. Erickson supporters are drumming up supporters to attend the meeting.

Board President Tim Yeater said he was aware of the Erickson presentation but unaware any funding will be doled out by the board.

“There is a big difference between presentation and distribution of funds in my world,” Yeater said. “As far as I know, there is no plan to give anyone any more money out of the budget.”

The board allocated $700,000 to the PHS Stadium Committee to aid in the renovations of the condemned bleachers at Stadium Field. The money was pulled from the school system’s underfunded contingency fund.

Yeater said unless officials uncovered some money there aren’t additional funds to support the Erickson request.

“Unless something has changed, no one has made me aware there is any more money to give.”

In addition to Erickson needs, Yeater said officials will also look at the comprehensive cost of facilities and maintenance for athletics countywide.

“This is not a stadium issue,” he said. “This is a comprehensive issue with regard to working within the budget.”

Yeater said Erickson – as well as PHS and Williamstown High School – need to be reviewed.

“We can’t let the athletic facilities fall down,” he said.

Yeater said school system officials want to get a handle on the needs to the system – including athletics – as they make plans for the next levy. As officials start looking at bonds and levies, Yeater said they need to question if a comprehensive issue is needed to cover all school facilities.

Because of the funding to Stadium Field, Yeater said the issue has been raised that money should also be given to Parkersburg South and Williamstown high schools.

“If everything is equal is South getting $700,000? Is Williamstown? You have to look at it from a comprehensive standpoint. What is needs-based? It is still a business decision.”

“Do we need a college-quality, all-weather track at a high school? And do we need two of them? Three of them?

What do we need?”

This isn’t a north/south or Williamstown issue,” he added. “This is the school system doing business as they should. Let’s talk about this.”

The presentation is one of several athletic-flavored items on Tuesday’s agenda.

In addition to Erickson, board members will also consider discussion of offering a senior citizen discount for events. There will also be approval of the technical proposal for the Stadium Field renovations.