Rolla High School students and parents will have two things to look forward to as the 2013-14 school year begins in less than six weeks.
New synthetic turf is being laid down on the school's football field and the cafeteria is being upgraded to accommodate more students and to better serve the school and community as a multipurpose room.
The projects are part of the Rolla School District long-range facility plan which the district approved in 2007. According to School Superintendent Dr. Aaron Zalis, both projects are on track to be completed before the start of school on Aug. 14.
The plan for the new turf at Lions Memorial Field was the vision of several Rolla High School alumni who put a number of fundraising initiatives together to make it a reality.
Businesses and individuals have contributed over $312,000 for the improvements which will cost close to $629,000. ATG Contractors is the general contractor for the turf project.
Zalis explained that Rolla is one of the last football fields to go all turf within the Ozark Athletic Conference. However, it has been worth the wait.
"We all learn from each other. We ask for feedback on funding, and with the performance of the contractors that performed work. We toured fields to see the finished product and have asked for the level of each district's satisfaction," said Zalis.
The new football field is part of a number of other improvements at the stadium. These include the installation of new bleachers, a retaining wall and concrete work around the sport's facility.
Zalis was pleased to note that these upgrades will not only benefit the school's football program but will allow the school's marching band to stay closer to home. The Marching Bulldogs have been practicing at the field inside the community track across from Rolla Junior High School.
"It will eliminate travel time for our students during the school day," Zalis said.
The high school's cafeteria will be expanded by 5,000 square feet at a cost of more than $1.3 million. The improvements will accommodate 100 more students and allow for a more efficient flow of students during the service of meals for the upcoming school year.
Bales Construction Co. is the general contractor on cafeteria work at Rolla High School as well as the Harry S Truman Elementary School security vestibule project.