Getting a new field for Burgess Field gained yardage Monday, as the Geneva school board agreed to accept $500,000 in donations for artificial turf -- $50,000 from the Geneva All-Sports Boosters and $450,000 from an anonymous donor.
The next play? A vote in December to seek bids on contracts for the work, according to Superintendent Kent Mutchler.
A $450,000 anonymous gift was announced in April, and the board voted to accept it and seek bids, with the idea of starting construction in the spring so it could have a new field this fall. But the board couldn't button up the details on the $450,000 gift in time to do so, and so announced a postponement in June.
Monday's gift was from a different donor, Mutchler said.
The district estimates that a new field with artificial turf could cost about $1 million. The school board agreed the district should pick up the cost of replacing the turf with natural turf, and said if the community wanted artificial turf, it would have to come up with the rest through donations. A campaign started in August 2010.
Mutchler and Trustee Mary Stith credited that campaign with bringing the need to the attention of the anonymous donor.
"Thank you very much not just for the fundraising you did, but the exposure you did to give this project good publicity," Mutchler told Sports Boosters attending Monday's meeting.
Mutchler hopes to let bids in January and have the work done between late spring and early summer.
The field has lost its crown, and parts of its drainage system are broken. "It is in very sad shape," Mutchler said.
The district has tried to minimize use of the field in recent years, including conducting football practice at the shuttered Broadview Academy in La Fox. With artificial turf, it plans to conduct physical education classes and marching band practices on the field, and to rent it to community groups.