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The Ovid-Elsie School District in full-on turf war

Ovid-Elsie Turf War - Stop the Turf Sign
Posted at 10:46 AM, Apr 07, 2022

Some parents and community members are in a turf war with the Ovid-Elsie School District after the Board of Education decided to move forward with a $1.8 million project to renovate its high school football stadium.

Signs that read "Stop the Turf" can be found in yards across Ovid and Elsie, including in front of Roy Nethaway's business in downtown Ovid.

STOP THE TURF sign, Ovid-Elsie Turf War
STOP THE TURF sign, Ovid-Elsie Turf War

Nethaway, a father of five, has spent most of his life in Ovid. He thinks there are better ways for the school district to use the money.

"So in the year 2000, our newest school was built," Nethaway said of Ovid-Elsie Middle School. "If you go into that building right now, you are going to find in the lobby, on a day like today, at least seven, if not more, pails catching water leaking from various spots."

Ovid-Elsie Superintendent Ryan Cunningham, however, said those problems are already being addressed.

"Most rainstorms, you know, we get leaks here and there. We've actually replaced all our roofs over the last five or six years," Cunningham said. "The company who installed the roof, we still have eight years of warranty left. They were out on site Monday to look at it."

As for the stadium renovations, despite resistance from Nethaway and others, the school board voted to move forward with the project it had been planning for months.

Ovid-Elsie high school football stadium layout
Ovid-Elsie high school football stadium layout

"In September, we were reviewing our stadium project, looking specifically at the track because that's part of the 2019 bond extension we had done, and we had some additional dollars, but we had some additional concerns about the drainage in our football field," Cunningham said. "I had asked the board for a committee. We wanted to study the stadium as a whole project, looking at lighting, the field, the track, concession stands, the press box. I mean the whole thing, because we knew that once we started tearing out the track, it was the right time to get into the field itself, because it's going to be a mess."

Cunningham said one of the main reasons the board wants to use turf instead of grass is so the field can be utilized more. Right now, the marching band isn't even allowed on the field to avoid "wear and tear."

"The drainage problems are what's causing our track to deplete so fast because it's not crowned properly," Cunningham said. "You know, the track is a fixed cost, and then it comes down to, 'How do you resurface the field?' Turf is more expensive, we acknowledge that."

Ovid-Elsie high school football field
Ovid-Elsie high school football field

Cunningham said turf is about $485,000, and sod is about $250,000.

Though sod is more than $200,000 cheaper than turf, if they went with that option, Cunningham said the school would, "lose a full season."

Cunningham said they are set to break ground as soon as graduation is over.

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