Hancock Public Schools has closed its purchase of McAfee Field from Finlandia University’s State Receiver. Earlier this week the school district finalized its acquisition of the football field after being owned by the university for the past 14 years. Interim Superintendent Chris Salani says that the district was able to negotiate a reasonable price for the field.
“It’s a 1.5 to 1.7 million dollar setup as currently laid out. Just walking into the space with the field. With the bleachers, the current press box, and the current structure for locker rooms. That number is quite a bit more than the 400. If we were to go out and try to purchase a turf field right now, without any substructure, if we had to do that same setup, up here at the high school middle school. For example. It would be pushing well above three-quarters of a million dollars just to put turf in.” Chris Salani, Interim Superintendent, Hancock Public Schools
In 2009 Hancock Schools sold the Condon Field to Finlandia, with plans that the university would invest in the location and Hancock would be able to continue using the field without cost to the district. Some of the capital improvements included the construction of a collegiate-sized softball field.
Salani says that after the university closed, an auction that was held for property over the summer included some equipment at the field. Such as the locker-room’s lockers, and benches. Other equipment, such as Finalndia University’s PA system, were left in place. Salani included, that if it wasn’t nailed down or attached to the field, everything was sold.
“We have some opportunities here, with the city, some partnering opportunities that may come to fruition with some potential grants. Of course, fundraising is another initiative to make any upgrades to the site. However, we know that our current model for the general fund will support that loan over fifteen years. And we will have to manage that appropriately. The other thing I can say is we haven’t had as a district, because Finlandia has owned McAfee up to this point since 2009. We haven’t had facility or infrastructure cost associated with field usage.” – Chris Salani Interim superintendent, Hancock Public Schools
The district will finance the 400,000-dollar purchase of the McAfee field over a 15-year loan. After the Bulldogs finish up the football season the district will begin inventorying the facilities to determine what else has been removed or not completed. After an inventory is complete, the school district will begin making necessary upgrades to provide the same high school football game day experience residents and students have come to expect.