New London-Spicer School Board approves funds for baseball project

NEW LONDON -- The New London-Spicer School Board approved $50,000 for baseball park renovations at the Spicer ball field during its regular meeting Monday.

NEW LONDON -- The New London-Spicer School Board approved $50,000 for baseball park renovations at the Spicer ball field during its regular meeting Monday.

The district will contribute $10,000 to the project each year for five years, beginning in 2008. In the motion to approve the funding, the board included contingencies that the project be completed as designed, that the school receives lifetime usage of the facility and that any additional funding raised be used to improve the nearby softball fields.

The board's building and grounds committee recommended approval of the funding. Board member Michael O'Brien noted that the committee was waiting on its recommendation until after the Spicer City Council took action on the project. At the Oct. 11 meeting, the council approved contributing up to $150,000 to the project, if the school contributed $50,000.

Jerry Reiter, one of the members of the committee working on the project, urged the board to move forward so the work can begin as soon as possible. Reiter noted that they have lined up free fill to create a berm at the park, and the use of trucks and equipment to haul and handle the fill. Depending on the weather, concrete work could begin this year.

Reiter noted that the group has identified almost $250,000 in private donations to the project. He urged the board to act quickly to capture the community momentum created for the project.


The project is estimated to cost $425,000 and would add lighting, a 192-seat grandstand and canopy, a concession stand, press box, field improvements and a new scoreboard.

"I'm excited about having a state of the art facility for the kids to use," said board member Michael O'Brien.

Before the board approved the motion on the funding, board chair Karen Nelson made a motion to postpone action on the matter until Nov. 6 and to move the regular board meeting to that date. That motion failed, with only Nelson voting for it. The funding motion passed unanimously, with Nelson abstaining from voting.

In other action, the board:

- Heard a report from board member Robert Moller regarding the school's lease on the Little Theatre. He noted that the building and grounds committee met with the Crow River Players, who own the building, and they are very interested in a two year lease of $14,200 per year with the school.

That amount would pay the insurance, utilities and other bills, according to Superintendent Paul Carlson, and would allow the players groups' fundraising efforts to support improvements to the building.

The board is expected to take action on the lease at the Nov. 13 board meeting.

- Approved awarding a snow plowing contract to Oak Ridge Construction, New London, for plowing at the district's three school sites. Oak Ridge was the only bidder and has been the school's plowing service for the past three years, according to district business manager Barb Gjerde.

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