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Published March 28, 2011, 09:46 PM

Grand Forks School Board Approves Bids on Central, Red River H.S. Construction Projects

Cushman Field improvements are becoming a reality after a Grand Forks School Board meeting Monday night. School board members approved the nearly $1.9 million project which would start construction next month.

Cushman Field improvements are becoming a reality after a Grand Forks School Board meeting Monday night. School board members approved the nearly $1.9 million project which would start construction next month.

School board members are moving forward with several projects including improvements to Cushman Field. People involved with the project can't wait for it to get started.

"It's a pretty exciting time. Along with the track we're going to do a field turf field which will allow us to play all of our soccer and football games at Cushman Field," athletic director Todd Olson said.

A synthetic turf made of fibers with rubber and sand will allow football teams to play four or five days a week on the field instead of a few times a year. Other improvements will also take place.

"We upgraded the track to what they call a flood and chip system which allows the water to drain off the track instead of through the track. So I think we'll get 5 or 6 extra years out of the upgrading for that 148-thousand dollars," Olson said.

The project has been in the works for almost 3 years. The original estimate for the project was $1.5 million. After accepting bids and adding a few things, the project is nearly $1.9 million.

"The finance package we were able to put together totals payments we're going to be making to pay off the bonds is going to be less than we actually borrow. It's just a unique time with stimulus funds that we're using to buy down the interest rates," business manager Bill Hutchison said.

The board has been looking to update the field since the flood of 1997.

After finishing several other projects, they are happy to finally get a start on this one.

"I started mentioning it four or five years ago. I thought it would make a lot of sense for our community to look at putting in a turf type field where we could use a lot more nights and now it's coming to pass," Olson said.

Other projects approved at the Monday night meeting include a Red River High School theater addition and Central High school updates. Both could start construction next month.

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