TIPP CITY — After the board voted earlier this week to keep the stadium in city park, Tipp City school officials held a conference Friday to discuss some of the details of the project.
Athletic Director JD Foust and Superintendent Gretta Kumpf were joined by members of the private fundraising group, Tipp Pride Association (TPA) to discuss the new stadium and took questions.
Kumpf noted that the need for a new stadium has been a topic of discussion for several years, saying that location and funding have been major obstacles to making it a reality.
“We’re happy to report that Tipp City Schools is moving forward with plans to build a new athletic facility at City Park,” she said. The current stadium dates back to the 1940s and was last updated with new bleachers in the 1980s.
The plan is to build a new $5.6 million, 3,500 seat facility on the site of the current stadium. The city has offered to complete about $350,000 of in-kind work — including improvements to parking, new restrooms, and egress to Third Street to improve traffic flow — on the condition that the stadium stay in the park.
TPA Vice President Scott George elaborated on funding for the project, the timeline for which depends in large part on the success of the group’s fundraising efforts. The group was formed last year and their 501(c)3 status is pending approval, he said.
According to George, the group believes that they can secure as much as 50 percent of the funds through naming rights and sponsorships. The rest will depend on contributions from local businesses and the community.
“It will take a village,” TPA President Mashell Stith said.
While there is no set timeline yet, George said that he hopes to be able to work out a loan agreement with a local bank in order to complete the project in one phase.
“We’re working with one of the local banks to see at what point, when we get into our fundraising…where is that threshold where they would be willing to finance a loan through TPA, not through the school,” he explained. “Once we get that, we can build the entire stadium.”
If the stadium does become a multi-phase project, Foust said that a new turf playing field would likely be the first step.
Foust explained that the location made more financial sense than relocating the facility to the high school. Estimates from the district’s architect show that building a stadium at the high school might cost as much as $1.8 million more than keeping it at City Park, he said.
The difference is largely due to high bedrock and the need for more parking at the high school — the current location is grandfathered in with regard to city zoning codes — and the in-kind work promised by the city.
“There is tradition down at City Park,” Foust added. “It’s a great atmosphere for our kids… I think it’s only right that we’re continuing to keep it at City Park.”
Foust also added that the district’s student athletes are excited for the project, and look forward to being able to play in the new facility.
“We will have a state-of-the-art facility for our kids at Tipp City Schools,” Foust said.
TPA is hosting a community meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 20, to discuss their goals and strategies. The location has not yet been determined, but will be announced online.
For more information about TPA, visit their website, www.tipppride.com, or Facebook page.
Reach Cecilia Fox at [email protected]