Synthetic field proposed at Jonathan Alder

On April 10, Jonathan Alder alumnus Rayce Robinson presented to the school board a concept for a synthetic turf field at the high school.

(Posted April 14, 2017)

By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer

Imagine playing football at Jonathan Alder High School on a field of synthetic turf.

The idea appeared as a dream to a small committee in the Plain City area and now has the Jonathan Alder school board considering whether or not it should support the proposal.

School district resident Rayce Robinson presented his idea at the April 10 school board meeting. He said the idea came out of a meeting of friends at a restaurant about three years ago. He said private donations would finance the field with no funding required from the district.

Robinson, a former football and baseball player who grew up about a mile from Jonathan Alder High School, cited the district’s academic and athletic successes and its financial stability.

“What is missing?” Robinson asked. “What does our competition have? How can we invest in our youth and continue our traditions?”

The proposed synthetic field would be laid out for football, soccer, and the school’s newest sport, lacrosse. The word “PIONEERS” would be inscribed in each end zone.

Robinson said it would take four to six weeks to remove the current field and prepare the ground to lay down 15 panels with the Alder “A” in the center.

The cost for a synthetic field is estimated at $450,000 to $480,000, Robinson said. He noted the athletes, music boosters and band boosters like the idea and added it is something the future generations would be using.

“Perhaps my kids would be playing on it,” said Robinson whose two children are younger than 5 years old.

When Superintendent Gary Chapman asked how the district could help, Robinson talked about setting up financial programs to handle the donations. He also said the district can lend its verbal support.

“We can’t proceed until we have your support,” he stressed several times during his presentation.

“It looks exciting,” said board President Shannon Foust, and Chapman closed out the presentation with, “We’ll be in touch.”

Community Support Coalition

Special Services Director Shawn Heimlich outlined two projects of the Community Support Coalition, which formed two years ago after two district students died by suicide.

Heimlich identified the projects as a distribution of basic needs and the development of a sport-based youth program.

“It’s taken us 18 months to get our feet under us,” said Heimlich.

Volunteers will deliver donated clothing, backpacks, and possibly food to people in the district without access to transportation.

The other project has drawn the interest of a sports psychologist from The Ohio State University who will work with the group to develop a program.

Handbooks being studied

The board heard first readings regarding the high school student/parent handbook, the junior high student/parent handbook, the athletic coaches’ handbook and the student athletic handbook.

One big change, said high school Principal Mike Aurin, was coordinating the penalties for being caught with tobacco, making it the same in all the handbooks.

Currently, if a student athlete is caught with tobacco, he or she loses a full season of competition. But the change would include education for a first offense and the chance for the student to make amends. A second offense would mean the loss of the season, and “the third strike and you’re done forever.”

The board will review the handbooks and vote on them at the May 8 meeting.


The board recognized:

  • Seth Dickman, first place in the county geography bee at the middle school level;
  • Mason Farmwald, first place in the county geography bee at the junior high level;
  • Rusty Walter, Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Coach of the Year for boys bowling and for girls bowling. Both teams were regular-season champions, took first place in the MOAC tournaments, first at sectionals and first in the district competition. The boys finished 11th at state competition and the girls seventh.
  • Bowler McKenzie Heimlich was named to the MOAC first team, and placed first in the conference, at sectionals and the district. Andrew Clarke was named first team MOAC after having placed first in the conference. Also named first team MOAC were Tricia Fox, Rena Kirts, Rachel Kaeser and Zach Otto.
  • Zane Johnson and Jake Johnson each placed first in wrestling competition in the conference, and Jake Johnson qualified for state competition.
  • Andrew Koenig was named first team all MOAC for basketball, first team all Central District and special mention All Ohio.
  • Lily Hess, first team all MOAC for girls basketball and honorable mention all Central District.
  • Katie Vaughn finished first in the 500 freestyle in the MOAC swimming competition; Iain Herring won first in the conference 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke in sectional competition.

Canaan Lock-In

The board approved the annual overnight lock-in at Canaan Middle School for enrichment students. The event, scheduled for May 12, will be the last one for Cheryl Brockman who is retiring after more than 30 years of teaching. She has been holding the Friday night lock-ins for more than a decade.

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