The future has arrived for the Glen Rose Independent School District, and the school board trustees took action in their Nov. 27 meeting to catch up with some infrastructure and technological upgrades.
The trustees approved three project proposals, including two that will make up the bulk of the cost.
One is to make improvements at Tiger Stadium, where the Glen Rose High School Tigers and junior varsity Tigers play their football games.
Superintendent Wayne Rotan said that metal bleachers to seat an additional 450 fans on the home side will be added, along with a new press box on the visitor’s side. A sound system upgrade will also be included in the project, to be completed by SturdiSteel, a BuyBoard vendor based in Waco.
The existing small press box on the visitor’s side will be removed, and replaced by three, one-level prefabricated units placed side by side. That will allow for the scoreboard controls and the announcer’s booth to be moved to that side, plus giving more room for visiting coaches.
Greater space demands from news media members — radio broadcasters, as well as newspapers — and other factors made the current setup inadequate, not to mention needing greater capacity in the stands for the loyal fans.
“We had talked about this for years,” Rotan said. “We’ve been concerned with the capacity on the home side the last few years, and the capacity in the press box.”
Rotan noted that he and the GRISD’s Assistant Superintendent of Operations Tommy Corcoran and head football coach/athletic director Cliff Watkins all consulted with the school board on the stadium upgrade needs. Last summer, previously approved new artificial turf was installed at Tiger Stadium, and it was in place in time for the start of the 2017 football season.
The new visitors side press box will cost $239,000, and the additional seating will be $108,000. The total cost of the stadium project, which also includes the sound system upgrade, concrete work, electrical work, rock facing/pillars, and various fixtures, furniture and other equipment, will be $527,000.
Rotan recommended approval, and a budget amendment to fund the project. It was approved unanimously, by 6-0 vote. One board trustee, Brady Brown, was absent from the meeting.
“We hope to have it started in January, and have it completed by March,” Rotan said of the stadium work.
The board also voted by a 6-0 count to approve campus flooring projects that will replace worn, brittle vinyl tile in the hallways at each GRISD school campus — high school ($85,864), junior high (71,375), intermediate ($89,675) and elementary ($73,028).
The new product will be Luxury Vinyl Tile, a durable vinyl plank that has a high resistance to scratches, stains and scuffing. It also does not need to be waxed, which will save up to $15,000 a year in maintenance costs for the school district, according to Rotan.
Gomez Flooring of Dallas, which is on a BuyBoard contract, will be the contractor.
Rotan said that the company has enough manpower that it should be able to complete the job at all the schools within the two-week time frame the GRISD will be closed for the Christmas holiday break. Rotan noted that the new tile product may be considered as a replacement for worn carpeting in the schools, but that decision will come at a later date. The existing carpet was installed in 2004, Rotan said.
The third upgrade approved at the meeting — also by 6-0 vote — was for necessary technology updates. Phase 1 will include new electrical switches and fiber that has been in use since the late 1990s.
“Phase 1 is overhauling the backbone of our infrastructure,” Rotan stated. “We’re just upgrading our infrastructure. The amount of technology and resources and band width we use has increased over the years.”
Rotan said that most of the technology upgrades will be paid for with federal grant money via E-Rate funds. The fiber upgrades, which will begin in the summer, will also be paid for predominantly through a grant, plus money from the Texas Education Agency, Rotan said.
“The Great South Texas Cooperation, with a winning bid of $152,562.00, was approved awaiting final approval by the GRISD Board of Trustees and the USAC. This past spring, GRISD received notice that the school district was approved by Universal Service Administration Company (USAC) for the purchase of equipment utilizing the E-Rate program C2 funds for $106,793.40, a 70 percent discount level. GRISD would be responsible for 30 percent or $45,768.60. The district would pay the full amount, then after completion of the installation, Region 12 E-Rate personnel would file appropriate paperwork to receive a refund of $106,793 from USAC.”
Rotan noted that the purchase of switches and access points was approved in the amount of $152,562, and a future refund to GRISD from USAC in the amount of $16,793, with a budget amendment of $45,768.69 for the difference.
Earlier in the meeting, the members of the Glen Rose High School volleyball team were recognized for their accomplishments and postseason honors after reaching the Class 4A state semifinals, finishing the season with a 48-2 record.
Also, GRHS student Emily Darby was cited for making the Texas Girls Coaches Association’s academic all-state list in team tennis.
And Jocelyn Mims, a GRHS cross country runner, was cited for qualifying for the state meet as a freshman.
The regular monthly board meeting date for December would have fallen on Christmas day, so the meeting will instead be held on Thursday, Dec. 21, starting at 6 p.m.