by Sheldon Ocker
Dec. 6 school board work session
The Revere Board of Education listened to two parents pitch a plan to expand and renovate certain high school athletic facilities by holding a capital campaign designed to raise as much as $5 million.
Jim and Beth Mullen, who have children in Revere schools, outlined to school board members a plan to renovate the Revere High fieldhouse, construct an addition to the fieldhouse to create a multi-purpose space, install artificial turf on the athletic field adjacent to the administration building and replace the grass on the baseball and softball fields with artificial turf.
The proposal expands a project to build a formal entrance to the football stadium, which has already been approved and funded by action of the board.
Beth Mullen, who operates Beacon Aligned Management, a consulting and development firm, would lead the fundraising effort. Jim Mullen, president and CEO of United Way of Summit and Medina counties, would assist her.
Jim is president of the Revere athletic booster club and director of the Revere Youth Football Program. Beth has helped coach middle school basketball players.
The Mullens prepared an eight-page brochure to support their presentation. One argument for enlarging and modernizing the athletic footprint at the high school is overcrowding.
“We’ve noticed displacement of some athletes,’’ Jim Mullen said. “We just came from seventh-grade basketball, which was in the lower gym because wrestling was in the upper gym.’’
Mullen said that athletics below the high school level can get squeezed into inappropriate time frames.
“Gym time for youth sports is not ideal,’’ he said. “We have a third-grader who practices at night. I imagine it is not ideal for a third-grader to be practicing twice a week at 8 at night.’’
During construction of the new high school, wrestling boosters lobbied for a room devoted solely to wrestling, but it never happened.
“Revere is the only school in the Suburban League that does not have a dedicated wrestling room,’’ said board member Hayden Hajdu. “But I think a multi-purpose room [attached to the fieldhouse] is much better because you could have cheerleading practice or do indoor workouts. … [But] obviously, the first people who would be utilizing the room would be the wrestling team.’’
In addition to extending practice seasons for athletes, installing turf on three fields would give the band more time to practice and possibly make Revere a regular venue for teams and leagues unaffiliated with the school district, said Mullen.
Hajdu speculated that upgraded baseball and softball fields might become a source of revenue for the district.
“If we do turf the baseball field – probably more than the softball field – we’ll make enough money all season with people that rent out the baseball field to cover maintenance costs.’’
Hajdu said the revenue stream might be strong enough to offset part of the replacement cost for the turf fields, which have a useful life of about a decade.
“We could literally have AAU tournaments here every weekend and probably over the course of an AAU season make 25,000 to 50,000 extra dollars,’’ he said.
Mullen said fundraising could be completed in two years, and the entire project finished by 2025. He added that the financial burden would not have to be borne solely by Revere alumni and parents.
“There’s a pretty strong corporate community in the region,’’ he said.
The board approved a resolution to replace several windows in the high school media center that suffered water damage.
Declaring an urgent necessity to protect district property enabled the board to bypass the competitive bidding process that is required of many contracts of $50,000 or more.
Treasurer Rick Berdine entered into a contract with AB Specialties, which installed the windows in the new Bath Elementary School. The board approved spending not more than $89,000.
“That leaves a small cushion if any change orders should occur,’’ Berdine said. “In talking to our construction experts … they feel we’re getting a deal.’’
The work will be done when AB Specialties can procure the glass, which will take several weeks.
The board approved the appointment of Bobbie Beshara to serve a one-year term as Revere’s rotating member to the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center’s board.
Beshara, former mayor of Richfield Village, is currently a member of village council. ∞