BELLEFONTE — When the Bellefonte school board voted earlier this year to drop the word “Red” from Red Raiders and remove all Native American imagery from its schools and athletic facilities, everyone knew there would be a cost attached to it.
During Tuesday night’s school board meeting, the board got a look at the price tag — and it’s hefty.
Ken Bean, the district’s director of fiscal affairs, presented an itemized list of costs for big ticket items that will need to be changed. Among the items Bean discussed were: The main gymnasium floor at the high school, the auxiliary gym floor at the high school, the scoreboards in the high school gymnasium, the marquee sign in front of the high school, paint in the main gymnasium and the wrestling mat.
All told, the changes will cost the district more than $100,000.
Bean talked about the gym floors first.
“It’s to do the entire floor. It really wouldn’t be feasible just to do the middle section of the floor. We could never get that to match,” Bean explained. “Plus, when you re-do the floor, you really need to re-do the entire floor.”
The district has three options for the floors — Miller Sports Construction, All American Athletics and Sport Floors, Inc. All American Athletics was the lowest estimate, coming in at $53,990. That’s a cost of $29,995 for the main gym and $23,995 for the auxiliary gym. Sport Floors, Inc. was next with an estimate of $75,226 — $35,713 for the main gym and $39,513 for the auxiliary gym. Finally, the highest estimate came from Miller Sports Construction, which came in at $77,650 — $38,440 for the main gym and $39,210 for the auxiliary gym.
While the estimates are in, the work will have to wait, Bean said.
“We got these (estimates) earlier in the summer … when we could get people in. But none of them could do it this (past) summer. We could maybe get someone in the fall, but the problem is that we can’t shut down the gyms during that period of time as they are being used constantly,” he said. “Really, we’re looking at next summer, trying to get somebody scheduled.”
According to Bean, the scoreboards in the main gym will need to change. Victorian Signs of Bellefonte estimates that cost at $2,040. The sign in front of the high school has a similar design. That estimate, also from Victorian Signs, came in at $300.
“Those are panels that slide out,” Bean explained.
The main gymnasium will need to be re-painted due to the words “Red Raiders” and a large mural. The estimated cost to re-paint the gym is $40,000.
“I suppose we could try to match the paint and cover up the one section … I’m not sure how that would look,” Bean said.
The wrestling mat will also need to be replaced. The cost of a new one will be $18,000, Bean said.
“It could be as high as $20,000. I’m not sure,” Bean said.
So, even if the district opts for the cheapest options, the total price tag is around $114,330.
There are other items, such as sports uniforms that would need to be “cycled out,” Bean said. There are other items that will need to be changed — such as the hurdles for track and field — but Bean didn’t have an estimate on those costs.
“We’ll need to come up with something. Either paint over it or put a sticker over it … something like that,” Bean said.
The costs weren’t included in the 2020-21 budget, so Bean said they will be included on next year’s budget. Ultimately, Bean said that the big ticket items — such as the gym floor — probably won’t be done until next year.
“We can put that in next year’s budget,” Bean said.
Bean said that things could likely be done at a cheaper cost, but that he wasn’t in favor of that.
“Obviously, we could do cheaper fixes. I’m not necessarily in favor of cheaper fixes because it looks cheap, but that’s my opinion,” Bean said.
The board took no action on the estimates.
The Bellefonte school board will meet again at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 19 at the middle school cafeteria. The meeting is open to the public and masks are required. The meeting will also be streamed via Zoom through the district’s website.