Committee Picks Option

ST. MARYS — A committee for a local board of education met to discuss the options for tennis courts located at the district’s new complex during a meeting Wednesday afternoon, ultimately deciding on the straight-line option, which would be located parallel to the current high school student parking lot.

Members of the St. Marys Board of Education Buildings and Grounds Committee met to look over the two options for the tennis courts to be located at St. Marys Memorial High School-St. Marys Middle School. Committee members previously met last week to discuss their options, during which they narrowed their choices down between a staggered court option and a straight line of courts to be located at the complex.

Bill Baker with MSA Sport presented the two options to committee members during their meeting Wednesday afternoon.

“What we have here are kind of representative of the two basic options that we’ve looked at with the feedback from the board sub-committee requested last week,” Baker said.

Baker noted there would be a 10-foot wide perimeter asphalt around the facility for both options, which would include a basic five court with an alternate of a sixth court.

The staggered option would have a 15-foot fence toward Shipman Road to address the concerns with the proximity to the road, while the straight-line option would have a 10-foot fence.

While both options included modifications to the existing detention basin, the second option featured additional cost because of the sitework associated with relocating the basin to the proposed location.

MSA’s estimate for the staggered option was $291,853.80, with an alternate for a sixth court as $34,624.80. MSA’s estimate for the straight-line option was $332,258.76, with an alternate for a sixth court as $41,547.60. Business Manager Kurt Kuffner noted there is sufficient funds for either option currently in the district’s Permanent Improvement Fund.

Tennis coach Bill Ruane said he would prefer the straight option.

“When you’re trying to coach or teach and practices and matches, it would be easier to see the five courts,” he said. “It seems like it would be more efficient and practical from a coaching and teaching standpoint.”

Board Member Ralph Wiley noted he believed the straight-line option is better from a safety point of view — compared to the staggered option’s closeness to Shipman Road.

“Not only from an aesthetic point of view —  but I think this is a cleaner look, it sets us farther back onto the property,” he said, noting he had a concern with the staggered option if someone would park off Shipman to watch a match. “That would be a traffic concern.”

Baker noted either option meets the OHSAA standards, and the courts would be facing north/south.

“My preference would be (the straight-line option), while more expensive alternative, long term it would be the better solution,” Wiley said.

Athletic Director Doug Spencer also noted he preferred the straight option.

“I think in the long term, I think very well the case can be made that the benefit exceeds that cost,” he said.

Baker noted if the district wanted to add lighting to the courts down the road, it could cause issues if the district went with the staggered option because of the proximity to Shipman Road.

“With the lighting being some concern, you’re going to have to come up with some special design, hybrid — you’re going to have infrastructure cost,” Wiley said.

If the bids are taken for the project at the end of November, the project could be done with staggered deadlines, Baker said.

The first, he suggested, would be putting the base down before winter and monitoring what happens during the wet weather.

“By the time this gets out and gets bid, the asphalt plants will most likely be shut down, so that will give us a little bit of extra time to make sure the compaction is right, the base is in,” he said. “If there’s any issues, we can have them come back and do another compaction test after winter — we can be pretty cautious about it.”

Board Member Rees McKee agreed with the second option, as well.

“It is cleaner, it does give the coach and the players better sight lines without a doubt, and I guess when it comes down to it — if you can get the sitework done this fall, let it set over the winter, I would be in favor of (the straight option) over (the staggered option). I don’t think we should make it harder for our coaches and players by having a staggered setup. Here again, this location makes it more conducive for phys ed using the facilities — and your parking is right there.”

Committee members will make the recommendation to the board of education at its next meeting, which will be at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9.