The New Albany High School athletics boosters appealed to the school board Monday, April 26, for help with their synthetic turf campaign.

The New Albany High School athletics boosters appealed to the school board Monday, April 26, for help with their synthetic turf campaign.

Boosters president Eileen Pewitt asked the board to consider financially backing the project, named "A First Class Field for a First Class Community."

According to information provided by the boosters, the cost to purchase and install the turf would be about $800,000.

Their goal is to have the new field installed by football season.

Pewitt said the group has raised about $100,000 so far, but needs the board's help to reach its goal.

"As the months have passed, we have come to realize this project and future booster efforts are a way to bring the community together," she said. "We would like to start now. The school board can help us reach our goal (by) helping us secure a loan so this project can move forward now."

Pewitt and the boosters offered two proposals.

The first was a privately funded, interest-free loan from local donors. The $600,000 loan would be repaid at a rate of $60,000 per year over 10 years. The boosters are asking the school board to back the loan as the guarantor.

The second proposal would be to finance a loan through a local bank. According to the boosters, the turf would be the collateral, not tax revenues or the real estate. The boosters are asking the board to be the guarantor in this proposal, as well.

"Our ideal option is having a group of investors that decide the partnership is important and the project is important and would offer the no-interest loan," Pewitt said. "We need to be able to give them some assurance they would be repaid, of course."

Pewitt said she doesn't think the boosters would have any problems with the first option because they have received a lot of support from the community. The group plans to hold a number of fundraisers in the future.

"We would much rather go with the no-interest loan," she said. "We don't think it would be hard to find that because there has been so much community support."

Pewitt said that by going with the no-interest loan, the money that the district would save from the synthetic turf would be the money the boosters are asking the board to use as the guarantee.

According to the boosters, the school would save money on such things as water, fertilizer and labor.

Pewitt said the community would also benefit from the new field.

"We see this as an opportunity to expand our outreach to the entire New Albany community," she said, noting partnerships with the parks district and other local organizations.

School board president Mark Ryan said the board would schedule a meeting with the boosters to learn more about their proposals.

He said district officials must explore the legality of the request.

"If you give us an opportunity to work through that and understand it going forward, we can figure out the right way (to approach this)," Ryan said.

He said he thinks the boosters have done a great job in raising $100,000 in such a short period of time.

"That is really well done," Ryan said. "I applaud you for getting that accomplished."