North Schuylkill to install turf on baseball, softball fields

Sep. 25—FOUNTAIN SPRINGS — The North Schuylkill School District will install synthetic turf on its baseball and softball fields next year.

The new turf will replace the natural grass surfaces on Robert Wetzel Field and Dot Seidel Field, which have "historically" had problems with their aging drainage systems, North Schuylkill Business Manager Robert Amos said.

The project was approved by the school board during Wednesday's monthly meeting. It will be done by FieldTurf USA at a total cost of $2,744,187.07.

Amos expects the permitting for the project to be approved by the end of February, with construction beginning in March. It will take approximately six weeks to install the turf on each field and, if everything goes according to plan, the fields will be completed by June.

The school district will have a more exact time frame on the project within the next two weeks, Amos said.

In August 2019, FieldTurf also redid the surface for North Schuylkill's Ghosh Orthodontics Field at Spartan Stadium. The new synthetic turf field has "worked out great" for the school district, remedying the problems with the old drainage system that often resulted in muddy, borderline "unplayable" conditions in rain and snow, according to Amos.

"We've never had to cancel games," Amos said.

FieldTurf USA has installed its synthetic turf on fields in Danville, Bloomsburg, Lehighton and other areas in the region. The turf manufacturer is currently redoing the Hazleton Area School District's baseball and softball fields.

In other business, the board also:

—Approved the employment of Kelly Sajone as an English teacher at a starting salary of $62,225, effective as soon as released from her current district.

—Approved a new contract for Superintendent Robert Ackell, effective July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2028.

—Approved the 2022-23 Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29 Special Education Service Agreement for a tentative total amount of $363,814.

—Approved the revised health and safety plan as presented to the board.

—Approved the flu vaccine administration program agreement with Rite Aid as presented to the board.

Contact the writer: hlee@republicanherald.com; 570-628-6085