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School board allocates $70,000 to reseed Beatty football field

The Beatty football field was a hot topic of discussion at the Nye County School School Board meeting, which was held at Beatty High School on Tuesday night.

The school board voted 6-1 to pay $70,000 to reseed the Beatty football field by hydroseeding the field.

The failure of the seed caused the Hornets to play all of their home games on the baseball field. This will be the third attempt in three years at seeding the field in recent history. The latest attempt was done in June and the monsoonal rains flooded the field in July and washed all the seed away. Cameron McRae, maintenance and operations director for the Nye County School District, said he had seeded the field in 2008 and it was probably done a few times prior to that.

So why try to seed again? The school district is between a rock and a hard place. The football team needs a place to play. With the bad soil condition, artificial turf would be the ideal choice.

Prior to the vote the board held a lengthy discussion on the failure of this year’s efforts of seeding the Beatty football field, and other measures taken to maintain the field. In the discussion the subject of artificial turf was quickly dismissed because of the lack of funds due to the failure of state Question No. 1. This would have authorized the school district to continue to issue general obligation school bonds to finance the acquisition, construction, improvement and equipping of school facilities. This could have provided the necessary funds for artificial turf. Artificial turf can cost anywhere from $500,000 to nearly a million to install.

The board also discussed the problems with the reseeding process.

In addition to frustrated parents, McRae has to contend with the very poor soil conditions he has in Beatty to grow the grass.

He presented the soils report at the board meeting. The reports were done by Soil and Plant Laboratory in Anaheim, Calif.

The reports said the samples were high in salt and talked about elevated boron. It said, “the high salinity in the soil has led to a condition in which impediment to drainage is expected to be severe.” Conclusions of the report said “grass turf performance can be expected to suffer and that no grass turf would be expected to perform well.”

McRae also added, “I don’t have a water sample report but we did submit water. They gave us a verbal report saying the water wasn’t significantly bad, but it didn’t help.”

In general, Beatty High School parents are frustrated with the situation. Most of them would like to see artificial turf installed in Beatty, and were disappointed when they were told the district doesn’t have the funds to install it.

One parent who has a son that plays on the football team, James Revert, said the discussion was calm but he admitted he would rather have the artificial turf. Revert disagreed that the water was the problem.

“It’s not the water,” he said. “The water that waters the football field, the park and the baseball field is all the same water. Grass is growing everywhere else. I think they planted it at the wrong time last year and it was too late in the season. In the past ten years they have burned a lot of money and I think they could have put artificial turf in.”

McRae addressed this argument in a phone conversation on Wednesday, “Just look at the condition of the other fields. Our other field is poor. The park has been poor and now is better because they put so much time into it,” he said.

Pahrump Star Nursery manager Tyson Taylor said that the seed could be damaged by high salinity in the water.

“If the water is high in salinity it will kill the grass seed, but the water may not contain enough salinity to kill the adult grass. Seed is very sensitive, more so than mature grass,” Taylor said.

This time the field will be hydroseeded. This is a process where the seed is mixed in a slurry of seed and mulch in a large tank. Additives are added to the slurry like fertilizers to stimulate quick germination of the seed. The seed is then shot onto the field through a specially designed nozzle. The slurry mixture helps to keep the seed moist. McRae believes this process will give the seed a better chance of germinating.

McRae didn’t want to talk about the politics of the matter but stuck to what he had to work with.

“I have very little funding and resources to try to accommodate this,” he said. “I am going to take the residents of the community seriously who stepped up last night and said they are willing, able to help when we do this.”

He stressed it will require some local cooperation and he is going to ask for help to check that the water is correct, that the sprinklers are operating correctly and the grass is mowed appropriately.

“Once we do this, the first few weeks of watering will be crucial to have any field to play on in August of 2015,” he said. “Those things will require that sort of supervision. When we are seventy miles away, it’s tough to do,” he said.

Beatty High School Principal Gary Flood was more than satisfied with the meeting.

“I strongly feel that Nye County School District is doing everything in it power to make sure we have grass for next year’s football games,” Flood said.

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