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FUHSD to consider stadium field upgrade


Last updated 2/8/2007 at Noon

The Fallbrook Union High School District is scheduled to make a decision on an agreement for a new stadium field during its February 12 board meeting.

The FUHSD board heard an information item January 22 regarding financing for the district-funded track portion of the refurbishment. The football field portion would be funded by private donations, and the February 12 meeting is expected to authorize an agreement in which the football booster club pays for the new football field and the school district funds the new track surface through multi-year financing.

In August the school board authorized district staff to solicit bids for the new surface. Part of that authorization included obtaining more accurate estimates on the actual cost. The district conferred with potential bidders, and while cost estimates were honed so was the timeframe of the work. It was determined that an immediate contract would not allow the work to be done between seasons, so the authorization to solicit bids was not exercised.

The cost of replacing the football field only is now estimated at $840,000. The cost of installing a new track in conjunction with the field is estimated at an additional $840,000. Installation of both the football field and the track would allow for more efficient acquisition and installation.

Although the football field would be financed privately, school board approval would be needed for the work on district facilities. “Some private donors in the community have approached the district,” said Chet Gannett, the Fallbrook Union High School District’s assistant superintendent for business services. “That’s kind of contingent on the district being able to shoulder the associated replacement of an artificial surface track to go with it.”

During the informational item presentation, Gannett noted that one possible source for the track surface’s funding would be the 2006-07 revenue the district received from state-mandated claims. “They’re funds that the state has owed us for a long time for mandated costs,” Gannett said. “For a number of years the state did not fund any of those mandated costs.”

If various scenario assumptions are accurate, the district would be able to fund the track with multi-year financing at no cost to the general fund. If those assumptions are not correct, the district would be at risk for the funds. “There’s always a little bit of risk involved,” Gannett said.

The school district has received $1.6 million of the mandated cost back payments, but the county has informed the school district not to spend any of the money until the payments have been audited. “The state can take a lot of this back,” Gannett said.

The district plans to set aside $1,008,000 of those mandated payments, which would involve $144,000 annual payments for seven years. The current interest rate for a Certificate of Participation is just under five percent. Payment on a Certificate of Participation can stretch out for as long as seven years, and if audits release the funds the balance can be pre-paid.


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