City, schools partner on stadium study

By Cecilia Fox -

TIPP CITY — The Tipp City Council voted Monday to contract with the school district and Ruetschle Architects for stadium design services.

The firm will determine the feasibility of the proposed sites and provide cost estimates to build a new stadium. The sites to be considered are City Park, home to the current stadium, and land next to Tippecanoe High School.

The city has agreed to pay half of the $20,000 cost for design services. The city owns the City Park property and leases the stadium to the schools.

The architect will provide a conceptual master plan and cost estimates for an athletic complex with a 3,500 seat stadium, locker rooms, and concession stands. The conceptual design will also take into consideration all of the necessary site work, including parking, access roads, water, sewer and electricity. The school will also pay for soil borings and samples at both locations.

Council unanimously approved the motion. The school board voted to approve the agreement at their meeting last week.

Superintendent Gretta Kumpf said that the district has looked into feasibility in previous years, but didn’t have any hard numbers.

“These have been long time questions. I will say it’s been looked into a number of times, but did we have real numbers? That’s one thing we have not had,” she said. “What we’re looking for right now are a larger view and vision and also hard numbers that will tell us what it will cost.”

Mike Ruetschle said that the new study would take previous information and flesh it out.

“The intent of this exercise is to take it to the next level and to actually drill into the costs associated with those concepts that we’ve developed,” Ruetschle explained.

This agreement is a “baby step” towards a stadium solution, something the school district has been discussing for years, Mayor Pat Hale said.

“I have no interest in the city funding the stadium,” he said.

If the architectural firm determines that the stadium in City Park can be rebuilt, then the city will know what associated site work it could be responsible for, the mayor added, saying that if that stadium doesn’t stay in the park, then the city can begin to plan what it will do with the land.

Councilwoman Katelyn Berbach agreed, saying that she had been against contributing to the study until she knew that it would provide council with specific numbers on costs the city could be responsible for should the stadium remain in City Park.

“It’s their project, but we as the city have a certain obligation, because it’s our property, to make sure that there’s safety there,” Councilman John Kessler said.

Members of a private fund raising group, Tippecanoe Community Pride, also spoke during the study session. The group announced their intention to assist the district in securing donations to offset the cost of construction and encouraged the city to approved the agreement.

“When the decision is finalized by the city and the school board about the location and the finance details, we plan to be ready to plug in and help out with collecting pledges,” the group’s spokesperson Mashell Stith said.

To begin the process, the group asked that the city pay the other half of the design services agreement.

By Cecilia Fox

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