FARMINGTON — The competition field inside the Mt. Blue track has traditionally had a grass surface, but that may soon change.

Directors of the Mt. Blue Regional School District this week discussed the benefits and concerns associated with artificial turf. Several school board members noted the advantage of having a durable, weather-resistant playing surface; others questioned the cost and health issues associated with the material.

In the past, there have been serious knee and leg injuries in professional and amateur sports to athletes catching their feet in cracks in the turf while running. While current technology has eliminated many of the seams in the material, the board is taking a cautious approach to research the types of available turf.

Director Helen Wilkey of Vienna made a motion to seek pledges and to investigate private parties interested in funding a local share for the field, which the board approved. Research on the feasibility of artificial turf is expected to be ongoing for the next year.

The cost is projected at around $500,000, Assistant Superintendent Susan Pratt said. “In the interim, (the board) is looking at raising the money locally.”

There may be state and federal funding sources not yet identified that could help reduce the cost, Pratt said.

The school board has approved a $64 million concept plan for a renovation and addition at Mt. Blue High School and Foster Regional Applied Technology Center. Superintendent Michael Cormier was expected to meet with the State Board of Education on Wednesday for state approval of the concept plan. Public hearings and a Sept. 15 referendum will be held pending state approval.

In other business:

Lunch and breakfast prices were set for the 2009-10 school year. The board set lunch at $1.75 full price and 40 cents reduced price for qualifying students for the elementary grades. Breakfast prices are $1 full price and 30 cents reduced.
At the high school, lunch is $2 and breakfast is $1.15 at full price. The reduced rates are the same as for the elementary grades; staff pays $3.75 for lunch.

• Cormier was presented with an award at the state superintendent’s conference recently for his efforts in promoting a solid educational foundation for the school district’s children.

• The board accepted resignations from transportation specialist Nate Reid, Mt. Blue Middle School social studies teacher Phil St. Onge and middle school science teacher Wesley Marble.

• Staff nominations that were approved included Jodi Badershall as half-time science teacher at the middle school; Nicole Ball as kindergarten teacher at the Mallett School; and Karen Williams-Jordan as guidance staff at the high school.

• School board Director Ray Glass of Farmington was re-elected board chairman; Charisse Keach was elected vice chairwoman.

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