BOE?approves Waterford?High School repairs

WATERFORD – The Wolf Creek Local Board of Education Monday approved nearly $150,000 in repairs and maintenance at Waterford High School, to be paid for with revenue from leasing the district’s mineral rights.

“These projects are going to be done with the oil and gas money we received,” board President Hugh Arnold said, noting no money will come out of the district’s general fund.

The district received approximately $375,000 for leasing the mineral rights to Colorado-based PDC Energy Inc. last year.

The board approved four contracts, each with a separate business and under the $50,000 threshold that requires competitive bidding under state law, for placing new tile on the walls and repainting the hallways in the new addition to the high school, as well as repairing 22 lintels on the building and repainting other areas. The total cost of the work is $148,352.41.

Other potential uses for the money were discussed, including repaving the area in front of the vocational agriculture facility and upgrading the baseball field.

Assistant baseball coach Gene Paxton, who has done a lot of volunteer work for the field, proposed installing new chain link fencing to enclose the entire field and provide enclosures for pitchers and catchers to warm up. He said the work can be done for less than $25,000.

“I’d really like to see us get a field (that players) can be proud of,” he said.

Superintendent Bob Caldwell praised the efforts of Paxton and other volunteers and said the work they’ve done is why an upgrade was being discussed with the board. He noted the facility is in line to eventually receive upgrades like other facilities have.

“We’ve had a lot of stuff donated on our baseball field. We’ve got a grass infield. … It’s even got a warning track now,” he said. “It’s pretty classy.”

But Caldwell is recommending a reduced scope of work that would replace the current home run fence, under which baseballs can roll and plunge into Wolf Creek and putting up fencing to protect pitchers and catchers from incoming balls and stop overthrows. He said the district has long opted not to do “Cadillac” projects when they weren’t required and he believes residents will question spending so much money on the field.

“You’re going to have a lot of people come to board meetings when I tell them no in those IEP meetings,” he told the board, referring to individualized education plans that sometimes call for expensive devices the district turns down because of the cost.

Caldwell said he would provide estimates for both approaches to the board.

Arnold also suggested using the oil and gas money to offset overages in the athletic department instead of raising ticket prices.

Caldwell said the athletic department is on pace to bring in $55,515 this school year while spending $63,541. Raising ticket prices is one possible approach, but school officials were hesitant to do it.

“I don’t like pricing people out of the opportunity to support our programs,” Caldwell said.