Donations leading to Batavia ballfield improvements
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The proposed $13 million renovation of the Batavia High School athletic fields will begin soon with the varsity baseball field, because a business and two sports groups are donating to the cause.
The school board Tuesday night agreed to let Batavia Youth Baseball, the Batavia High School Bulldog Boosters Club and Eagle Concrete replace the dugouts and the backstop. The groups intend to start the work soon so players will enjoy the new items in the spring, Superintendent Lisa Hichens said.
Eagle Concrete will donate equipment and labor. Batavia Youth Baseball is donating $23,000 this year, then $15,000 over the next five years. The Bulldog Boosters will donate $20,000.
The varsity baseball team has also promised to donate $20,000 over the next five years. The work was estimated to cost about $190,000 earlier this year.
The arrangement is similar to that for a playground installed at H.C. Storm Elementary School. The district fronted the money and the PTO is reimbursing the district.
In the agreement, Batavia Youth Baseball would become the official feeder program for the high school and be given priority when scheduling events at the school district's baseball fields.
"When the (athletics field renovation) plan came about, we approved it as a framework. This is a prime example of one (opportunity) that was there," said school board member Gregg Hodge.
"This to me is almost a no-brainer. They put their money where their mouth is: 'We will make this happen and it won't cost the taxpayers any money,' " Hodge said.
School board member Melanie Impastato said it was likely the district was going to have to replace the backstop soon anyway, since it is leaning over the field.
In July, the board added $13 million in work for the high school's fields to the district's capital improvement plan. Former Superintendent Jack Barshinger said in February that the lack of a plan "had been holding back some donors."
The Bulldog Boosters have started raising money for two artificial turf fields the plan calls for, including a "sponsor-a-line" campaign this fall on the varsity football/soccer field.
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