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$8.6M athletic campus gets OK from Armstrong School Board

| Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, 12:21 a.m.

With very little discussion, the Armstrong School Board authorized L.R. Kimball & Associates of Ebensburg to develop plans for an athletic campus at the new Armstrong Junior-Senior High School.

The plans, which cost the district approximately $468,000, will lay out expectations for the campus, which comes with an $8.6 million price tag.

The board authorized the expenditure on a 7-0 vote, with board members D. Royce Smeltzer and Amy Lhote absent.

South Bend resident Adam Grafton called it unnecessary and asked the board to vote down the plans until the district had a better handle on its expenses.

“The board said once the new school was built, they were going to use their existing facilities until the district had all of its finances in order,” Grafton said. “I don't think there's been any great economic improvement, and Armstrong School District cannot afford to spend on athletic facilities.

“Maybe the district's money would be spent better elsewhere, like working on improving its academic performance.”

Although the district will pay for the plans, the Armstrong School District Foundation expects to launch a capital campaign to cover the $8.6 million estimated price tag to build the facility, according to Superintendent Stan Chapp.

He said the plans will provide the foundation with guidance to begin working with benefactors.

L.R. Kimball & Associates, who developed plans for the new school building, should have the plans for the complex completed by March and will allow the district to finance the cost of the plans during a 24-month period with zero interest, said Joseph Close, board president.

Close said the plans will help the foundation launch its campaign.

The proposed athletic campus includes a football stadium, two baseball fields, two areas for track and field events, six lighted tennis courts, a concession stand and a soccer field, Close said.

The stadium will include 3,500 seats, an eight-lane track, press box, field house with locker rooms and artificial turf, making the field usable for football, soccer and other sports, he said.

District officials expect to open the new building at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year.

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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