Districts look to expand program facilities with artificial turf, lights

The Beaverton School District Board of Directors expressed enthusiasm about a Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District proposal to purchase and install synthetic turf and field lights at Conestoga Middle School as part of an intergovernmental agreement between the two districts.

While the finer points of the arrangement — including cost and maintenance responsibilities — remain to be worked out, the board gave the go-ahead at its Monday night business meeting for school district administrators to continue working with the park district on the project.

The revamped athletic field would be used for students and park district residents for a wide range of athletics and other events, including football, lacrosse, soccer and flag football.

“There’s a great need,” said Ron Porterfield, the school district’s director of facilities. “Conestoga seems a logical place to do this.”

Located at 12250 S.W. Conestoga Drive, the school campus is a leading site of several the park district is examining for a collaboration on athletic fields with durable turf and nighttime amenities, noted park district General Manager Doug Menke.

“This is very early in the process, as we discuss the terms and usage and get a better sense on costs,” he said on Tuesday, noting this would be the fourth recent collaboration between the two entities. “Some of the (sites) are on their property, some are on ours.”

Collaborative facilities makes for prudent fiscal policy, he noted.

“By taking advantage of things like parking and utilities, we’re using tax dollars to the maximum advantage. If we went to a neutral site, we’d be starting from scratch.”

School board members expressed support for the project, but asked for more information regarding the priority uses and availability of the field and how maintenance responsibilities would be divided.

“I assume if it’s one of our schools, we would get first priority, just like the other schools for which we have agreements with THPRD,” said school board member Linda Degman.

Endorsing the basic idea, board member Mary VanderWeele agreed she looks forward to hearing more.

“We need to (let staff) move forward and iron out the details, and you can come back and let us know how it’s been resolved,” she said.

Menke said the next step is regrouping with school district leaders to refine the plan and determine cost distributions for Conestoga.

“This joint usage is a unique opportunity to continue what’s already been a phenomenal partnership,” Menke said. “With this we can take it to a new level.”

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