It looked like a parent’s day casting call for a Ruston version of Friday Night Lights. At least a dozen football boosters were there – folks that you don’t usually see at the regular school board meetings.
At today’s noon meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board’s Building & Grounds and Finance Committees, it was decided to recommend to the full board that some $1.6 million be spent on renovations to the Ruston High School (RHS) football team field house, and artificial turf for the playing field.
RHS Athletic Director Billy Laird introduced Tim Brandon, CEO of TBA Studio – a West Monroe architecture firm – who presented preliminary plans to refurbish the existing field house beneath the football stadium and add on some new space.
The project would completely rehabilitate the interior of the existing building and add some new offices. The structure would take up most all the space beneath the east side stadium and “would be just as nice as what West Monroe and Neville have.”
The project is estimated to cost about $850 thousand and would take about four months to design and get ready for bids. Construction was estimated at about seven months.
Also making a presentation was Mike Allen of Vibra-Whirl Sports, LTD., a supplier of artificial turf for athletic playing fields. Allen presented a proposal that estimated the installation cost at about $770 thousand, but would save about $47 thousand annually in maintenance costs, according to his estimate. Ninety to one hundred twenty days would be needed for installation.
LPSB Business Manager George Murphy presented a memorandum showing how much money was available in the capital budget what other commitments were outstanding. Existing projects amounted to about $1.5 million, and the total budgeted amount for the year was about $3.3 million.
Mark Richard of the Ruston High School Football Booster Club spoke for the group and said, “When the existing facilities were built in the 1950s, it was state-of-the art. It’s time we got back to that standard.”
One other visitor asked what were the chances of floating a tax and bond issue to build a state-of-the-art three to four million dollar stand-alone field house. Superintendent Danny Bell said he didn’t think the area political climate would support a new tax, considering the state of the economy. “I would be hesitant to put my neck on the line right now,” Bell said. He mentioned the Ruston Tea Party event held last week at Railroad Park.