With the complete demolition of West Elementary School, it is now undetermined when the new soccer fields will be finished.
Athens City School District Superintendent, Tom Gibbs, said the timeline for the finished soccer fields is unknown because the only thing done so far is basic groundwork. He added that the land still needs to be seeded and a fence needs to be installed.
With the uncertainty that the grass will be grown well enough this summer, there is no guarantee players can begin practicing on the fields for their upcoming soccer season in the fall, Gibbs said.
The subtotal for the site improvements, including the demolition and earthwork of the land, is worth $530,896, Gibbs said.
Additional expenses throughout the project include project personnel, liability insurance and other fees, Gibbs said. That brings the project cost to $684,819, which is being funded by a bond issue and levy.
Athens City School District, or ACSD, placed the option to demolish West Elementary on the 2018 ballot, along with other renovation suggestions within the district. The levy to demolish the elementary school was passed based on the poor condition of the building, according to a previous Post report.
David Riggs, Athens city code director, said other than communicating with the city for ideas on how to utilize the space, the city government had very little interaction with the school district on this project.
Before the building was decided to be demolished, Athens Mayor Steve Patterson wanted the area to be •emodeled into an area for residential housing.
“I had pitched several different ideas to Tom Gibbs about potential uses for that site to include the city,” Patterson said. “With the thought of creating a new neighborhood, albeit small, to maybe put tiny houses on it or micro estates.”
However, the school district decided to retain the property as a school district asset, Patterson said.
“I would say the Athens city school district will benefit the most from those soccer fields,” Patterson said. “It's their property, and that's what they have chosen to do with a property. Now that the building site has been cleared, it's city green space, so anyone can use it.”