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The Ashland School Board, by a narrow 3-2 vote last night, decided to move forward with a donation from a former football and baseball standout who would like to help the Grizzlies upgrade to an artificial surface on the Walter A. Phillips Field. Board Member Keith Massey brought forward a motion with 8 conditions to be met for the project to go forward, but that motion was withdrawn and tabled to a further meeting. After discussion, a motion to accept the donation from Major League Baseball pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, a 1990’s graduate of AHS, was approved. Superintendent Jay Hummel and District staff were given the go-ahead to ask for bids and construction estimates.
Guthrie, a starting pitcher for the Kansas City Royals, has put up approximately $400,000 to fund the artificial surface to replace the natural grass at his alma mater. School Board members have concern on the maintenance and replacement costs associated with the new surface, and are wanting to find ways to build a reserve fund so general fund or construction monies that could fund other priorities don’t have to be tapped down the road. Some further refinement of the conditions the Board would like to see in place will take place at the February meeting.
Southern Oregon University is also fundraising for a new artificial surface at Raider Stadium. That project is coming along, but due to conflicts with other events that use the Stadium the new field most likely won’t be installed and ready for use until prior to the 2015 season.