CITY SCHOOLS Central stadium alternative is explored
The school board could continue renting YSU's stadium.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Financing and the availability of property are the key issues to resolve in considering whether a new central stadium for the city's high schools becomes a reality, school officials say.
At a meeting Monday, the school board's extracurriculur committee met to discuss the stadium idea and receive information from a trip some members took to Canton and Ravenna.
Board member Jamael Brown, committee chairman; board member Michael Write; and John Tullio, administrative assistant to superintendent Dr. Wendy Webb, recently visited central stadiums in the two cities to get the pros and cons of operating those facilities.
Brown said Ravenna has a sports complex that includes a stadium, baseball fields and tennis courts. The construction cost was between $5 million and $6.5 million.
The school district there built the complex in advance of a new school that will go in front of it. That board also had 20 acres to work with, Brown said.
Write said the Canton stadium also was board-owned, and its cost was about $2.5 million. The stadium also sits on board-owned property.
Tullio said the Canton stadium was more centrally located and was able to host more high school playoff games. The Canton stadium also did well with concessions and had established partnerships with local distributors to provide food and other items, Brown said.
Tullio said the Ravenna athletics director made a statement the Youngstown board needed to remember: "He said, 'Remember that stadiums get old, and someone has to maintain them,'" Tullio said.
The committee said it plans to meet the week of Dec. 20 with Diocese of Youngstown representatives to continue the central stadium discussion.
In October, the committee also discussed alternatives. One would have Home Field Advantage, a nonprofit organization, own and operate the stadium and lease it to the city schools and the Catholic diocese schools. Each high school team -- East, Chaney, Mooney and Ursuline -- would have its own locker room, and the visiting team would have its own locker room.
Another would be for the city schools to own and operate the stadium, which would be donated by HFA.
The schools also could continue the current practice of renting Youngstown State University's Stambaugh Stadium at $2,500 per football game.
In other business, the committee said it would like to partner with the Youngstown Park & amp; Recreation Commission on putting in new playgrounds where new city schools are being constructed. Brown said he would like to meet with park and recreation board members next year to put some ideas together.
The committee added it also would like a student survey taken to see what other activities of interest children would like the school system to implement. Brown said the survey would "at least give us a map of what our kids want."
Joe Meranto, principal of Choffin Career & amp; Technical Center, board member Shelly Murray and Webb also attended the meeting.