May 1, 2015 (Independence, IA) – Over the past year, construction crews, school administration and community volunteers have been busy working to finish Phase One of The Final Push.
Phase 1 included:
The new turf on Leinbaugh Field, completed last Fall, eliminated the need for a separate soccer fields and avoided duplication of bleachers, lights, concessions and restrooms. It serves as the primary soccer and football field for the Mustangs and is used by other sport teams, band, and physical education classes. The synthetic turf saves the District an estimated $40,000/year on maintenance of the grass playing fields eliminated by the turf. The turf can handle limitless foot traffic and maintains peak surface conditions throughout the entire year. In fact, starting in May 2015, the East Iowa Storm Semi-Professional Football team will be calling Leinbaugh Field “home” for their May-September season.
With the seasonal weather now reaching desired temperatures, the final surfacing for the new tennis courts will soon be completed. The six new tennis courts, located on the north side of the Jr/Sr High School, are surrounded by a chain link fence and has abundant parking nearby. Lights will be installed on one of the courts this summer. In the future, additional lights will be installed on the other courts.
An additional parking lot, located on the North side of the Jr/Sr High School building, was added last Fall as another option for visitor and event parking. It will also serve as the tennis court parking lot.
Phase 2 of The Final Push consists of the new baseball and softball fields on the School District’s 92 acres. The desire is to commence construction in July 2015. It will include another parking lot, which will also serve as additional parking for events held at Leinbaugh Field.
“We are very fortunate that donations (cash and in-kind) will cover approximately 90% of the estimated cost of Phase 2 of The Final Push. The School District will utilize 1 cent sales tax revenue to pay for portions of the access road and the additional parking lot. All other costs of Phase 2 are paid for with cash or in-kind donations. We continue to be amazed at the generosity of those who support our school district”, said School Board President Brian Eddy.
The State of Iowa does not allow the 1 cent sales tax money to be spent on expenses that are paid out of the general fund, such as teacher salaries, utility costs, etc. As a result, the School District has been able to utilize the 1 cent sales tax revenue to make repairs to all the buildings the past several years. The 1 cent sales tax revenue paid for the cost of the new bus barn, repairs to parking lots and improving energy efficiency in the buildings. “People are often confused on how a school district can make major renovations, repairs or improvements to facilities while at the same time have to make budget cuts. However, that’s the nature of school finance and the State’s prohibition on using 1 cent sales tax to pay for salaries”, stated Superintendent Russell Reiter.
To date, the Mustang Foundation has received $1.5 million dollars in pledges (in-kind and cash) for The Final Push Campaign. The estimate balance needed to complete the campaign is just under $200,000. Donations of all sizes are still needed and pledges can be made over a three year period.
For more information on The Final Push Campaign, to make a donation, or to find out how to help complete these projects, visit the Independence Mustang Foundation website at www.indeemustangfoundation.com and click on the News/Projects page.