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updated: 6/13/2011 4:07 PM

No artificial turf for Geneva's Burgess Field until at least 2012

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By Samantha Kiesel
skiesel@dailyherald.com

The plan to renovate Geneva High School's Burgess Field will be delayed at least one football season, the school district said Monday.

A $450,000 anonymous donation -- announced April 6 -- is not expected to be received until later this summer.

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According to a news release, the "(District 304) board of education had no choice but to reschedule the renovations until late fall 2011 or early spring of 2012."

Superintendent Kent Mutchler said the plan for the renovations needed to be finalized by Monday night's school board meeting, but the money was not yet available.

"We're actually on a better time line now," Mutchler said. "We have better time to plan. This was an aggressive time line already to get it done this fall."

Mutchler said the district will have time to develop the project this summer and take it to the school board in the fall to get the approval.

In October 2010, boosters started planning an initiative to raise funds for the artificial turf for the football field, and estimated it would cost up to $1 million.

The artificial turf is needed because the field becomes exceptionally muddy following a rain. Blocked and broken drain tiles and the lack of a crown contribute to poor drainage. Neither the football nor soccer teams practice on the field to minimize damage.

The school board approved the reconstruction of the field but only if private donations covered at least half of the $1 million cost.

The board then received an anonymous donation of approximately $450,000 and an additional $50,000 from the Friends of Burgess Field -- a group which has been raising money since August.

Mutchler said with regular maintenance the field "will be in good enough condition to be played on for one more year."

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