News and Tribune

Clark County

June 9, 2012

Charlestown baseball and softball fields get ravamped

Also, summer camps have get slight change in procedure to assure programs are insured by the district

JEFFERSONVILLE — Charlestown High School’s baseball and softball fields will get overhauls and summer camps will have more assurance that they’re covered by insurance after Greater Clark County Schools’ board of trustees meeting Tuesday night.

The baseball and softball fields at Charlestown High School will have several repairs and upgrades made after parents and coaches expressed concerns that the fields weren’t safe for play in May.

Billy Wilkins, the parent of a sophomore on the baseball team, said in May that the field was littered with all kinds of debris, including large chunks of concrete weighing about 25 pounds and pieces of copper piping in the outfield.

Now, the $58,431 rehab project includes reworking fields, planting and sod, dirt from the fulfillment center site, an irrigation system and water back flow prevention system.

But the payment of the plan didn’t come without some opposition. Ernie Gilbert, board member, said he didn’t understand why Charlestown High School’s athletic department was footing $7,500 of the bill.

“They didn’t have anything to do with this,” Gilbert said. “That money that they have in that department has come from their hard work at a basketball or football game or anything else involved. When we took on this obligation that we were supposed to build this thing, that wasn’t one of the things they were supposed to draw upon, to pull out their money to do this.”

Martin Bell, chief operating officer, said the contribution from the school would help pay for an irrigation system, something that wasn’t in the plan for the fields when they were part of the school’s renovation process beginning in 2008.

“When we went back and tried to remediate the problems that existed, it basically was a consensus of everyone that irrigation would have gone a long ways if it was put in the plan originally,” Bell said.

But he said the school was soliciting bids for irrigating the fields from as far back as September 2011. He said the original cost of the system was $8,300, but the district gave them a bit of a break in the cost.

The district will pay $30,931 for the upgrades, but $20,000 of the project was paid through a donation by PACE Contracting and another $8,000 contribution from the city of Charlestown.

Mark Pavey, board vice president, said the board had already talked about this issue and wanted to take action.

“We all expressed an interest that we wanted to see this done,” Pavey said. “We’re this close to getting it done, I think it’s time to move on.”

The board voted in favor of the measure 6-1, with Gilbert casting the only no vote.

Also, summer camps have a slight change in procedure to assure their program is insured by the district.

Camps hosted by the district will fill out a form that makes sure they’re covered by the district’s liability insurance rather than assuming they were. But district-approved camps run by outside agencies or booster clubs will have to make sure they have a certificate of liability insurance in the amount of $1 million.

Gilbert said at the last board meeting, he wasn’t a fan of the policy and still isn’t. He said it creates an extra headache for coaches and principals.

But Bell said this covers all the bases, making sure the district will have insurance coverage if there’s a liability issue and make sure anyone paid during the event will have taxes taken out of their compensation.

“This form was developed to make sure we’re accounting for the funds and have the coach or sponsor and kids insured by the school corporation as a sponsored Greater Clark County Schools event,” Bell said. “We tried to keep it simple to make it as easy as possible. If we’re paying for an employee, we want to make sure taxes are being paid.”

Gilbert said in conversations with the district’s agent of record, Edward Culpepper “Pepper” Cooper, from a couple of years ago, the district was covered anyway.

Bell said while that may have been the case, the insurance company could have denied coverage if the district was found liable.

“Our legal opinion is that our insurance would not have covered those situations had there been an unfortunate circumstance,” Bell said. “And until something happened and we had to call the insurance company and deal with the lawyers, we probably wouldn’t have known, so we’re trying to get it clarified.”

The board voted in favor of the measure 6-1, with Gilbert the only opposition.

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