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Silex R-I school board approves pursuing grant

Posted on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 7:00 am

By Austin Groshong

The Silex School District is preparing to pursue phase two in expanding their athletic facilities.
The board of education voted unanimously to pursue phase two grant offered by the Department of Natural Resources. The grant will be used to construct a concession area with restrooms, playground area and pavilion, playground equipment and a possible walking trail. The grant is a $250,000 matching grant, in total of $500,000.
“Part of the grant application is that the board has to approve a resolution to apply for this,” said Silex Superintendent David Deets.
After meeting with the contractor, Nick Martin, Deets said that they had reviewed plans from a previous project with similar dimensions.
“These are kind of approximations,”said Deets. “We have some pretty specific plans that we think will help the grant readers realize that we have been serious about doing this and not trying to take advantage of the money that is out there in terms of grants. Because of the extra money we estimate that it was going to take a couple hundred thousand dollars to finish what we wanted finish anyway. So with this grant and being able to add some things that would be much nicer than what we would be doing. Especially with this walking trail, we decided to go ahead and apply for this grant.”
Deets said that the school district will not be able to work on projects pertaining to the things contained with the grant.
“If we don’t get the grant we wasted six months of time, but for $250,000 in my opinion that is not an immediate decision. There is no urgency to have this done.”
When questioned about the likeliness of receiving the grant, Deets explored the different factors.
“A lot depends on how many grants there are and where they come from,” said Deets. “It definitely doesn’t sound like we are getting penalized for the first grant.”
When asked about the cost of the project Deets says that there was a lot of flexibility with the grant if the district could come under budget.
“The actual plans that they got, the bids came in at $360,000 for the rest room and the concessions. If we could come in under that would be great. If we save $25,00 or $50,000 on the restroom or concession area, then we could put it to something else. or we don’t spend all the money.”
When asked if the six month period would effect work on Phase 1 of the project Deets said that the wait would have no bearing on the projects involved with Phase 1.
“It is mainly the concession and restroom area,” said Deets. “If we are fortunate enough to get this then we are basically doubling our investment by doing other things.”
Silex was awarded Phase One of the project on Nov. 1, 2016. Under the grant, DNR provided 45 percent of the project cost, while Silex provided the remaining 55 percent through district funds and in-kind donations. The amount that the district was awarded through the grant was $149,850. One the perquisites of the project would be the structures would be for community and school use.
At the Silex Board of Alderman meeting City Clerk Savannah Roam said that she had spoken with Deets about the project about Phase 2 of the grant.
“We signed off that we acknowledge that they got that and that the city would encourage people to use that,” said.
The deadline for applying was Feb. 16.
“We are keeping our fingers crossed,” continued Deets.