Huntsville school district to upgrade overgrown soccer field on a budget

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - District leaders are revealing their plans for an overgrown soccer field while trying to stay on the economical side. The district is working on its financial situation following the discovery of a $5.5 million accounting error last year, but the soccer field at Columbia High School needed some attention before students can play on it.

Principal Clifford Porter summed it up, saying, "It was taking a lot of manpower and time to get it ready, playable. I just made an executive decision with the holes in the ground and the unlevel playing surface, that I did not want anyone to get hurt. I decided to move our games to an alternate location."

Billy Priest, Maintenance Manager, said to the school board this week, "The soccer field is in bad shape. It is overgrown with clover, nutgrass, and a variety of weeds that are almost impossible to get rid of."

"We have noticed some snakes and things," Porter added.

It took some teamwork, but Priest revealed the solution includes some cost savings. After consulting with experts, they feel confident they can save the field and are committed to the goal of getting it ready for the spring.

Thanks to a $27,000 donation from county commissioner Steve Harway, the district can reseed, fertilize, and level the field out for less than $20,000 more out of the district's accounts, Priest told the board. He was also able to find the kind of mower they need to maintain it, but used and in great shape for additional cost savings.

"We are going to purchase the proper mower to make sure it doesn't get into that kind of shape again," Porter explained. "We are anticipating it will take 3-4 months and it can be ready for the spring season."

Now, he said the team will be ready for a great season.

"They went all the way to the playoffs and so we are hoping that this year they can have an even greater season," said Porter. He said the district wants the students to have a safe and regulation playing field that they, and visiting teams, can be proud of.

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