• 63°

Fairland Stadium features eco-friendly upgrades

ROME TOWNSHIP — The first home game for the Fairland Dragons will show off the spirit of Green to the nth degree. Not only will the school colors of green and white flourish brightly, the renovated stadium at the high school now proudly touts green in another way.

It has been revamped all according to the tenets of “green living.” In other words recycling was the key to conducting the project.

“We’re going to be the first “green” stadium,” said Sandy Joseph, administrative assistant at Fairland West Elementary School. “Everything has been recycled.”

The district’s maintenance men started the project back in the spring and are just getting it finished up before the start of school in another week.

“We purchased used aluminum bleachers from another school district, good high quality,” Joseph said. “We adjusted them to make improvements for them to be very safe.”

Bleachers from the Alexander Local School District in Athens County and Columbus city district were put up for sale after those districts got funding to build new stadiums; Fairland has taken them for the renovation.

“Alexander Local had them up for sale for a really good price,” Joseph said. “They were high quality and they wanted to sell them. They were fortunate enough to get money to build a new facility”

Spearheading the renovation has been Tom Crabtree, maintenance supervisor at the district and long-time area contractor. He estimates between $50,000 and $60,000 has been spent on the renovation projection compared to a bid for new bleachers that hit the $200,000 range for 160 feet of bleachers.

“I got them for scrap metal price, pennies on the dollar,” Crabtree said. “We’ve done a long.”

Among the improvements are making the seating section wheelchair accessible; turning a storage building into public restrooms; creating a private locker room for girls; and upgrading the weight room, training room and coach’s office.

Ecobulbs are now throughout the complex with instant hot water heaters that produce water only when needed making a significant savings.

All the money spent on the renovations came from money from a fund from a previous existing permanent improvement levy whose disbursements can only be spent on capital improvements, not salaries, according to administrative assistant Ken Ratliff.

“We have made it all safe and healthy. Public improvements that support our female and male athletes with benefits to the community,” Crabtree said.