Picayune School Board of Trustees approve baseball field upgrade

Published 7:00 am Thursday, October 26, 2017

A motion to allow improvement to the Maroon Tide’s varsity baseball field was approved during Tuesday’s Picayune School Board of Trustees meeting.

Varsity Head Baseball Coach Cody Stogner said the work will focus mainly on the area around home plate.

Baseball coach Evan Nichelson said that he is heading up an effort to raise $17,500 to pay for the work so the school district won’t have to foot the bill. That means he needed to find ten sponsors willing to put up $1,500 each, with the Diamond Club paying for the difference. So far he’s been able to secure nine donors from the business community, with one of the current nine vowing to cover a second sponsorship if a tenth can’t be found, Nichelson said.

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Synlawn out of Hattiesburg has been secured to conduct the work, which will include a concrete base complete with a synthetic substance around home plate that will replace the expensive clay. Nichelson said each year he has to replace lost clay and every so many years he has to dig up home plate and rebuild the surface underneath so it’s level with the rest of the field.

The synthetic surface will only need repairs once every five to seven years, preventing the need for regular maintenance. And while the initial install costs more than $17,000, the area will be designed to only require reinstallation of a small area around home plate costing between $1,500 to $2,000.

Donors of the project will receive a free fence sign for the upcoming season and be honored at the March 2, game. In order to do that, the company would like to start work on the project by Nov. 27, Nichelson said.

Anyone interested in sponsoring the last spot can contact Stogner or Nichelson at Picayune Memorial High School.

The Board also approved a motion to donate lockers from the junior high school to the Picayune Police Department. Previous coverage states that the lockers will be used in the police department’s new training facility. Superintendent Dean Shaw said that removal of the lockers created more room in the school’s hallways.  A change in federal funding has altered the way funds will be allocated in school districts. Mary Williams, federal programs and curriculum director for the Picayune School District, said that the funding in Title I will still go to elementary and junior highs, and Title II funding will go for class size reduction, but the creation of Title IV funding comes with restrictions to how those funds are spent.

If a district receives more than $30,000 in Title IV funding, 20 percent must be used for safe and healthy school activities, 20 percent should be used for activities that will provide well rounded instruction and the remaining 60 percent can be used in any of the previous priorities in addition to the support of effective technology use. However, there is a cap of 15 percent that can be used to purchase technology, Williams said.

In other action the Board:

— Rejected a bid of $150 for one of three pianos for sale within the District. Assistant Superintendent Brent Harrell said the piano is in need of work, but is worth more than the bid.

— Approved contacting the state to determine the worth of the pianos in order to use them in trade for newer instruments.

The next Board meeting will be Nov. 14 at noon.