The deal is done
An agreement that many have waited on for years finally became official Friday, March 22 as the Switzerland of Ohio Local School District Board of Education approved a long-term lease with the Village of Woodsfield for use of the fields at Memorial Park.
The agreement was approved in a special meeting and comes after a weeks of serious negotiations between the school district and the village.
The final contract is for 30 years and becomes effective immediately.
The SOLSD will pay the village $5,000 per year in rent for the use of the facilities along with paying all utilities.
The first five years of rent will be forgiven if the school district makes at least $25,000 in capital improvements to the site.
A similar deal had been presented to the school district earlier this month, but was sent back to the village for minor alterations.
The village compromised on a few of the requests, such as changes of wording and the term of the lease and quickly provided an updated contract, which the board unanimously approved during its special meeting March 22.
Interim Superintendent Rob Caldwell was pleased to see the agreement finally get finished.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Caldwell said. “Now that we have a long-term lease, we can finally do some upgrades to the facility. I’m thankful the village and us were able to come to an agreement.”
Woodsfield Mayor Michael Ricer was among the many to attend the meeting.
Like Caldwell, Ricer was pleased to see both sides finish the deal.
“The Village of Woodsfield really appreciates this,” Ricer said. “This is for the kids, not us. Most of us won’t be around for all of it (the 30 years of the lease).”
With the deal in place, the district can move forward with its plans to make improvements to the site.
In February, the school board approved an investment of nearly $700,000 to improve bleachers and press boxes at each area high school.
Work has already started at River and Beallsville, but, without a long-term deal in place with the village, nothing could be done for Monroe Central.
With the deal finalized, the projects can get underway.
Jason Clutter, the district’s transportation and maintenance director, expected work to begin soon.
“The ball is already rolling,” Clutter said. “We can turn it loose now.”
In addition to the press box and bleachers at the Monroe Central football field, Caldwell and Clutter are hopeful progress will soon be made on the athletic building at Monroe Central High School.
The second round of bids will be opened Thursday, March 28. Once bids are opened, they will be presented to the board of education for acceptance or refusal.