Lighting, electrical upgrades for district fields

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By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

    The Glenwood Board of Education approved a measure last Monday at its regular board meeting to upgrade the lights and electrical systems at the Glenwood Athletic Complex.

    The complex, which includes the Ram Memorial Field and A.C. Nuckolls Baseball Field, has badly been in need of upgrades to its aging lights, some of which are nearly 30 years old, said Dave Greenwood, the district’s director of facilities.
    “I’ve been here 23 years and they were here long before me,” said Greenwood. “I think they’ve outlived their usefulness.”
    Greenwood estimates the upgrades will cost the district $200,000. KPE Consulting Engineers of  Bellevue will design and spec the project. Greenwood said work could begin as early as this fall.
    “I’m hoping we can get a lot of the power (lines) run and the lights to the baseball field done this fall,” Greenwood said. The entire project is tentatively planned for a spring completion date.
    A similar upgrade was completed at the Ram softball fields two years ago.
    New electrical lines will also be installed to run power to a future concession stand and restroom facility in the baseball area, Greenwood said.
    “That’s on our five-year plan. We hope to address it soon,” said Greenwood of the potential new building that would sit behind the backstop and house a press box, restrooms and concession stand.
    Glenwood baseball coach Brett Elam, for one, is happy the much needed upgrades to the baseball field are finally underway. Elam coached the Rams to their first ever state baseball title last month in Des Moines.
    “We have kids coming off the state tournament with those lights (at Principal Park) saying it’s weird to finally see the spin on the baseball under lights,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to see that here. There was just so many shadows before. It should be a night-and-day difference from what we have now.”
    Elam said the electrical systems at the ball field were so tenuous this past season he was instructed not to even plug in an extension cord for risk of tripping a breaker and possibly damaging the scoreboard’s motherboard.
    “From what everyone has told me upgrading the underground electrical is long, long overdue because it’s so outdated,” said Elam.
    The electrical upgrades, Elam hopes, are just the first step in other improvements at the baseball field he has been campaigning for since taking the Glenwood job four years ago. Plans were presented at a board meeting two years ago for the combined press box, restroom and concession stand facility to go behind the backstop but that project has sat in limbo since.
    “I think it will happen. How soon is up in the air,” said Elam of the new building. Elam added he and his staff and a group of boosters are getting their “ducks in a row” to present their plan for the building at next month’s school board meeting.
    “We’re trying to get while the getting is good,” said Elam. “We have good support coming off the state championship, so we’re trying to use that to our advantage as much as we can.”
    Elam said with the promises he has for donated labor and some materials, the cost of the new facility is estimated at $30,000.
Other Board News:
    The board approved a $140,000 performance bond for Communication Innovators to complete the installation of wide area network fiber optics at Northeast Elementary, West Elementary and the district print shop.
    The board approved a 10-percent price hike for tuition at Kid’s Place. The cost will raise the current rate by roughly $4 per day and $15 per week on average per child.
    The board voted to approve the district’s purchase of two 2011 Chevrolet Suburbans at a cost of $34,610 per vehicle.