Athletics dominate South Putnam agenda
After coming out of a more involved meeting Wednesday evening, the South Putnam School Board will have to consider some important decisions regarding South Putnam athletics and recent updates.
After it had addressed other various issues on the agenda, the board turned over the floor to South Putnam Athletic Director Tom Starnes, who provided feedback and input regarding sponsorship of new scoreboards, as well as maintenance of the sports fields.
Starnes first gave an update on the recently installed gym floor inside South Putnam High School, providing that ramps and railing are being installed. Starnes also talked at length about purchasing a floor covering, saying that it would be needed to protect the surface. Starnes hoped that a local business such as Endeavor Communications would help offset the cost, and that this opportunity is being pursued.
Starnes then turned his focus to the state of the sports fields as well as that of the cross country course on campus. Being matter of fact, he provided how the course has been riddled with mole holes, and how the turf has deteriorated over time.
Starnes relayed feedback he had received after South Putnam hosted its cross country sectional in October, where several had complained about the danger posed by the mole holes.
“It’s a dangerous situation, and it doesn’t provide either a safe or fair environment," Starnes said. “If we had a runner get hurt or have their event compromised, I wouldn’t feel too good about that.”
Besides the issue of safety, Starnes also related that it was important for South Putnam to address the problem and maintain its sectional event, owing to potentially lost ticket revenue and standing in the conference.
“Brownsburg has said that it absolutely wants (the sectional),” he said, “but I don’t want to lose the sectional. I want to maintain the course and keep that here for us.”
“I’ve had compliments before that our course is challenging, but that it is fun because it is so hard,” Starnes added. “But we can’t have them running out there until the moles are taken care of.”
Starnes segued the state of the cross country course with that of the sports turf, saying that the schools need to take better care of them as he showed the board a photo of a bare patch on the baseball field.
“This just tells you that just because you have green, that doesn’t mean it’s good,” he said. “Crabgrass is green; dandelions and weeds are green. They can’t be on a healthy field.”
Starnes said that the athletic offices are open to bids to perform the needed work, and named two standing offers provided by J&D Turf in Fishers and Turfdogs Lawn and Landscaping in Indianapolis. The South Putnam AD said that the total work would cost around $10,000, but that further detail etching would cost an additional $8,000, but which Starnes said J&D would do for free.
Though these bids stand, Starnes said that everyone needed to be open about options, especially if a company has managed turf at a decidedly larger institution like DePauw University, which J&D has done.
“We are open to bids, and we will consider the offer by Turfdogs,” he said, “but we want to be fiscally responsible while making sure we have a quality service for the money.”
Board member Larry Bottorf proposed that South Putnam graduates who have gone to Purdue University and studied turf management could come back and provide their expertise. Starnes said that could be done anyway, as many of them work for these companies already.
That comment transitioned into input by Starnes with regard to new scoreboards that are planned to be installed. Those which have already been purchased and will go with the new high school gym floor are anticipated by Starnes to be in place by the start of next month.
On the other hand, scoreboards which are planned for other fields are still being negotiated with community partners as to covering the cost to install and maintain them. Starnes said that Slam Dunk Sports Marketing in Middletown, Ohio, would perform the work, while the costs would be split between SPCSC and the sponsors.
In another important item on the agenda, the School Board also approved the replacement of a damper system at Fillmore Elementary, which regulates the flow of air-conditioning and heat inside the building. The quote provided to school officials will cost about $31,500 and is anticipated to be installed by Christmas break. The system will be put in by an engineering company that has performed similar work at South Putnam.
Other agenda items included the near-unanimous approval of the 2019-20 school calendar, which includes moving the school start day from Aug. 2 to Aug. 7. Board member Hollie Hutcheson opposed the motion. The board also approved its 2018-19 master contract with classroom teachers, as well as additional pay rates that are not mandated by the contract itself.
The board also recognized the South Putnam Schools’ Students of the Month:
•Central Elementary - second-grader Abby Ogborn;
•Fillmore Elementary - third-grader Paxton Church;
•South Putnam Middle School - seventh-grader Selena Kuhlman; and
•South Putnam High School - senior Trey Long.
The board finally approved the following personnel report:
-Classified: Lindsey Birt, Fillmore Elementary food service; and Laura Russell, Fillmore Elementary food service.
-ECA: Andrew Smith, middle school/high school Robotics club; and Matt Thoennes, seventh-grade boys’ basketball
-Classified: Janet Perry, Fillmore Elementary food service; and Lindsey Sprinkle, Central Elementary food service.
-ECA: Alex Lupinki, middle school/high school Robotics Club; Hannah Gilley, seventh-grade cheer coach (part-time); and Sawyer Arnold, seventh-grade boys’ basketball.
The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. in the MS/HS Learning Center.