School board discusses possible stadium updates
Improvements to the Marshalltown High School Stadium may be on the way, as Superintendent Theron Schutte discussed possible updates with school board members at the regularly scheduled meeting Monday night.
One of the key aspects of the project would be the construction of a tornado safe team room in the stadium’s west end zone, which would contain locker room areas for home and visiting teams to utilize. In addition to those spaces, new concession stands, new public restrooms, a training room and an umpire locker room would also be a part of the construction.
“It’s kind of a multipurpose room, but its primary purpose would be to provide something that we currently don’t have at the stadium, which are team rooms for the teams to meet in before, after, or during the halftime of matches,” Schutte said.
Because there is no existing structure, Schutte said teams use the roundhouse locker rooms to change and then make the trek down to the stadium. In the event of inclement weather or other delays during games, visiting teams go into an “undersized storage room” that has been repurposed as a team room, and the home team goes into a building across from the softball field.
“Neither of those situations are ideal for football, certainly, and probably soccer as well,” Schutte said.
The MCSD had the opportunity to submit a grant application for the construction of the tornado safe room, and it would cover 95 percent of the eligible costs of the structure, which Schutte said equated to about $3.4 million of a $3.8 million project.
Through a recent federal legislature change and the infrastructure plan put forward by President Joe Biden, Schutte said the federal government would pay 90 percent of the remaining eligible costs, and then the state would pay 10 percent, leaving MCSD only responsible for expenses deemed ineligible for coverage.
Of the $3.8 million project, Schutte estimated that around $400,000 would be considered ineligible, though he said the construction of that structure would be contingent on whether or not they receive the grant they applied for.
Though they applied for the grant before the end of the 2021-2022 school year, because of the legislative changes and the possible approval of the infrastructure bill, approval or denial of the grant application was delayed. The process, however, has recently moved forward.
Schutte said they sent in additional requested information to the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management about two weeks ago, and they then submitted it to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The district hopes to get an update on the grant’s status in the next 30 to 90 days.
The team room building construction is only a piece of the larger MHS stadium project, and Schutte said they are also hoping to convert the athletic field to FieldTurf. This conversion would require the field to be wider than it currently is, and it will require a different track configuration.
Schutte also said there is a “desperate need” to update the home bleachers and press box area. The bleachers are from the original 1960s construction, and Schutte said with the foundation movement over the years “you can kind of do the wave without waving.”
In addition to those updates, Schutte also hoped they would be able to refurbish the visitor bleachers and get a new scoreboard as well.
These updates would primarily be paid for through Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) funds, which are specifically for school infrastructure.
“What we’ll be looking at doing if we’re given the opportunity to move forward with this project will be prioritizing the absolute needs, and the wants if we have the capacity to do it, such that there will probably be certain portions of it that will be bid as alternates, so that the entire project won’t hitch on our ability to fund a digital scoreboard, which could be done later if we needed to,” Schutte said.
Other smaller improvements are also highlighted within the project, including a new digital timing system for the track, a storage structure under the press box, new fencing and several other updates in the same vein.
Schutte said the MHS and Anson Elementary Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning projects came in under bid, allowing them to avoid spending SAVE dollars, and on top of that, they were able to allocate some federal COVID funding to the MHS HVAC project as well. Because of those changes, Schutte foresaw being able to fund the stadium improvements using SAVE funds without issue if everything goes according to plan.
The discussion at the Monday night board meeting was purely for informational purposes, but a public hearing on the proposed use of the SAVE revenue for the project was scheduled for Tues. Oct. 4 at 5 p.m. during the next board meeting.
In other business, the board:
• Heard an update from the Student School Board Representatives.
• Approved 2022-2023 staff lane changes.
• Approved a depository resolution.
• Approved board policy 704.4 Gifts, Grants and Bequests.
• Heard an update from Communications Director Adam Sodders.
Contact Susanna Meyer at 641-753-6611 or