New Castle News

October 15, 2012

Ballfield makeover anticipated for Neshannock school district

Nancy Lowry
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Neshannock Township school directors are considering remedial courses for the district’s poorly performing ball fields.

Board members and Dr. Mary Todora, superintendent, met at the school yesterday with TruGreen of Poland, Ohio, to determine what can be done to restore the softball and baseball fields.

“The fields are on hard-packed clay,” Todora said following this week’s school board meeting. “The only thing growing is weeds and dandelions..”

The district has used the fields for three seasons. Todora said they had held up through the season but the summer drought proved too much for them.

Just watering the fields has not helped, she said.

She said TruGreen, which maintained the fields, has agreed to fertilize and seed the fields at no additional cost to the district.

The district will also have to rethink it’s aeration practice to break up the soil and promote plant growth, she said.

The district currently aerates with a unit equipped with three-to four-inch spikes.

“This has not penetrated the dry ground deeply enough,” she said. The district is considering drilling 12-inch holes, adding a mix of mushroom compost and reseeding.

“Then our people will aerate two or three times a year,” she said.

The board also accepted the proposal of Jim Graziani of Graziani Construction, to install an irrigation system on the fields, not to exceed $9,000.

Todora said the district has estimated a full irrigation system could cost $40,000.

Graziani, a volunteer girls’ softball coach, offered to provide labor if the district purchases materials.

In other business, the board:

•Hired Eugene Currie as a consultant for the gifted program at $26 per hour to work two days per week. He will be paid up to $200 per day during the 2012-13 school year. The vote was 7-1 with Amy Na opposing. Dr. Richard Papa was absent.

•Hired Tracy Romano as part-time paraprofessional to provide academic support for special education students.

•Hired Jamie Howell and Anita Slater as co-advisors for the junior high student council. The two will split the $693 annual salary for the post.