Stadium To Get New Turf
Bulldog Stadium will get new turf this summer for the first time since the artificial surface was installed in 2006.
The Wylie school board voted at its March school board meeting to replace the turf at a cost of about $460,000. The improvements will be paid from the districts fund balance or from its construction balance. The board also will pay about $24,000 for new goal posts.
The current turf, which was guaranteed for eight years, has lasted nine years with continuous use, Wylie athletic director Hugh Sandifer told the board at a previous workshop.
Not only is the turf used for varsity and JV football games, but the Freshman and Junior High football teams play their games on it, as does the boys and girls soccer teams (JV and Varsity). Plus the band practices on the field during marching season, and the varsity football team uses it for practices. Plus the district hosts playoff games, a Marching Festival and some community events at Bulldog Stadium.
“We really have gotten our money’s worth out of it in nine years,” Sandifer said.
Work will start on the project in May. Light said it should take about a month to complete.
Light and Sandifer studied proposals from four vendors and also visited various stadiums to see the actual turfs that each vendor had installed. They elected to go with turf that is used at SMU’s stadium installed by Paragan Sports Constructors.
“We feel the best value for the dollar will be with Paragan,” Light said. “It’s really plush, and we feel like it’s going to meet our needs. The fibers have been improved. We hope to get more than nine years out of it.”
The Board also voted to buy three new buses, something it does every year at this time. However, this year, the board voted to go with gasoline buses as opposed to diesel buses.
Wylie assistant superintendent Craig Bessent said the district has had numerous issues with maintenance of the diesel buses. At least one manufacturer is now making gasoline buses, and Bessent said he believes they will save significant repair costs.
“There hasn’t been any negative except if you are going to drive up and down the road, you are going to not get as good of gas mileage,” he said. “But you are going to save on your repairs.”
He said he believes that any extra expense in gas mileage will be more than offset by the savings in maintenance. Also, the new gas buses are supposed to last just as long as diesels.
Generally, Wylie orders three new buses each spring, and when they arrive in the fall, they are set aside for out-of-town activity trips. The three buses previously used for out of town trips are put into the bus route fleet as needed. The oldest buses are used for emergencies only. Wylie has some buses that are more than 20 years old.
However, the new gas buses will be put straight into the fleet because diesel buses have the most trouble with slower routes, and slow routes is where the advantages of gas buses really shine.
The gas buses are also slightly cheaper than diesel buses – about $104,000 each as compared to $107,000 each. Bessent told the board that he also found some gently used diesel buses that the district could purchase that were former leases. They were available for $70,000 each.
However, three of the six buses did not have seatbelts and all were diesel.
The board voted to stick with the new gas buses, but also gave Bessent and Light the flexibility to purchase one of the used buses if the opportunity arose.
Light said he was worried about sheer volume of buses with enrollment numbers soaring in the district. Wylie runs more than 60 routes each day, which takes 43 buses. Younger kids are taken home and then the buses return for the older children. Some days, when multiple out-of-town trips are planned, the buses are stretched thin.
“I would like to put more buses in the fleet,” he said. “That’s the only thing I’m concerned about is are we going to be behind the ball on number of buses. I would like us to have some flexibility if a good deal comes up that we can pursue that bus.”
Anyone who goes to the High School will notice tall pieces of steel protruding from the construction site out front.
Those are the first beams going up to the new Performing Arts Center.
The board learned at its March meeting that the high steel at the stage area is up and more steel would be going up in the next five weeks.
Construction crews have lost 22 days of work to weather but are confident they can finish the project by mid-December. Do you have thoughts on a 2nd Junior High?