Athletic facility
Shelby Schools Superintendent Tim Tarvin speaks with reporters after the March 15 Shelby Board of Education meeting. The board decided to pursue $4 million in financing for the Whippet athletic facility.

SHELBY — Now that Shelby's Board of Education has decided to move forward with a $4 million budget for a Whippet athletic complex on the high school campus, efforts are underway to get the financing in place as a project timeline comes into view.

“The next step would be to get everything in place so that we can put on the market, certificates of participation” known as COPs, Shelby Schools Superintendent Tim Tarvin told reporters in extensive remarks after the March 15 school board meeting. “That’s how we funded our PK-8 (prekindergarten-through-eighth-grade) building. That’s how we intend to finance the Whippet athletic facility, as well.”

Later in speaking about the athletic facility, he said that “rather than passing that financial burden on to our community to say, ‘We passed this bond issue, now you guys are paying are paying for the stadium’ what we’re saying is we’re fortunate enough to have the financing available to us.”

“Now we’re not writing a check for $4 million, but we’re going to finance the $4 million by going out and selling these certificates of participation much like what a bond would be,” Tarvin said.

He added that Shelby City Schools are in a financial situation in which a certificates-of-participation transaction “makes sense to us rather than pushing that financial burden onto our taxpayers.”  

Tarvin spoke earlier of how the financing process works. “Our representatives will sell these certificates of participation to the public. It’s about an eight-week process, give or take…Once that takes place, we can move full-speed ahead with regard to getting contractors on-site, getting them to work and that sort of thing.”

Officials also have emphasized that the athletic facility’s $4 million budget equates to interest savings related to the new pre-kindergarten-through-eighth grade school building project being built behind Shelby Middle School off Smiley Avenue.

Tarvin also outlined the timing of the athletic-complex project that will include a replacement for the downtown area Skiles Field football stadium with a new football venue to be built on the Shelby High School campus.

“If we can get these certificates of participation sold in a timely manner and capture really good interest rates, which we’re hopeful of, the timeline is from June of ’21 until August of ’22,” he said. “The great majority of the (athletic) project will be done by August-September of ’22. However, there's also a few other items that will have to take place during that kind of August of ’22 to spring of ’23” timeframe.

Tarvin quickly added: “I want to emphasize that none of our spring sports will be displaced. Track won’t have to move to another site. Baseball won’t have to move to another site, nor will tennis or softball. They’ll continue to play on what they consider their home tracks, home fields right now.”

The goal is to open the new football facility for the fall of 2023.

The first order of business, Tarvin said, is to relocate the baseball field to immediately west of the vocational-agricultural science building. “That is kind of the linchpin,” he said in explaining there’s a lot that goes into that such as creating the baseball field and the related planting work.

“It takes a while to take root,” Tarvin said of the baseball field. “So the first season that our baseball team would be able to play on that new home field would the spring of ’23.”

Despite the baseball field’s move, the Shelby baseball team will not have to go elsewhere to play a home season. “They all play this season on their current field,” Tarvin said. “They’ll play ’22 on their current field, and then they’ll play in ’23 on the new field.”

Also at the Whippet athletic complex, the track is to be resurfaced after the 2022 season.

Tarvin said to expect a lot of activity for the athletic campus from June of 2021 until August of 2023. “But in totality, we hope to have it completed in August of ’23 and playing football out there and soccer, as well,” he said.

A resolution approving contracts for the athletic complex was tabled at the March 15 school board meeting, providing more time to work on language allowing the school district more flexibility in the matter.

“Quite frankly, we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and start lining up contractors until that financing has been captured,” Tarvin said, noting the estimated eight-week financing process. “So we have time to kind of massage that resolution with regard to contractors to give us the knowledge and the flexibility to say, ‘OK. This is how we want to do it in regards to the turf or the scoreboard or grading the baseball field.’”

“Those types of things and not have to come back later and kind of plow that acreage again because we need to change something,” he added. “We decided to pump the brakes a little bit with that.”

Tarvin also spoke of project cost-savings work by the school district as part of an effort led by Scott Harvey — the Shelby school district's director of building maintenance, grounds and safety.

“Mr. Harvey and the school district are going to be doing a lot of the heavy lifting, particularly Mr. Harvey, with regard to helping to arrange for those contractors to come to Shelby and do the work,” Tarvin said. “It is going to save the district a great deal of money, having Mr. Harvey do that rather than an architectural firm or some kind of outside agency.”

“Mr. Harvey knows the contractors in the area, and we hope to hire locally as much as we can…” Tarvin added.

Check the Shelby Daily Globe for updates on the ongoing efforts and see for recent coverage

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