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Community funding to upgrade Patterson Mill High softball field with new scoreboard, fencing

Major upgrades, incuding a solar-powered scoreboard, outfield fence and team bench enclosures are planned for the Patterson Mill High School softball field. The $34,000, community funded project, received a green light from the Harford County Board of Education Monday night.
Major upgrades, incuding a solar-powered scoreboard, outfield fence and team bench enclosures are planned for the Patterson Mill High School softball field. The $34,000, community funded project, received a green light from the Harford County Board of Education Monday night. (MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF / Baltimore Sun)

The Harford County Board of Education cleared the way Monday for Patterson Mill High School to spend $34,250, raised through the school, athletic boosters and a Greater Bel Air Community Foundation grant, to upgrade its softball field and purchase a new solar-powered scoreboard.

The board voted unanimously in favor of the project as part of its consent agenda during its business meeting in Bel Air.

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Officials at the Bel Air South area school plan to purchase and install the new scoreboard and improve the field with a home run fence at the edge of the outfield, and that fence will be part of fencing around the entire field and the rear of the team benches.

Additional improvements include new foul poles, extending the concrete pads under the team benches, raising the existing fence in front of the team benches to 6 feet high to better protect players and installing a "four-post angled rolled roof" over the benches, according to school system documents.

The solar-powered scoreboard will replace an electronic scoreboard that was installed on the field in 2012, according to documents.

The school will not be using money from Harford County Public Schools' budget for the project, which will be paid for by funds raised by the softball team, the school's athletics department, the Patterson Mill Athletic Boosters, Emmorton Recreation Council and a grant from the Greater Bel Air Community Foundation which was provided to the athletic boosters organization, according to documents.

The HCPS operations office must review community-funded school capital projects before they are sent to the school board for approval; however, all contracts are procured through the individual school's administration, according to HCPS documents.

"We have a procedure that we have used for years when a [local] community organization wants to donate to make some improvements to a school," Cornell Brown, assistant superintendent for operations, said after the board meeting.

Brown said his office reviews the project to determine that "the scope of work they're proposing is acceptable."

He said the funding organizations, including the individual school's administration and the boosters, are then responsible for soliciting bids and selecting contractors.

The field would be used by Patterson Mill's varsity and junior varsity softball teams and Emmorton Recreation Council softball teams, according to documents.

The school plans to spend $11,500 on the scoreboard, which would be purchased from Daktronics, of Brookings, S.D., and installed by H&M Signs, of Linthicum Heights. The school would then spend $22,000 on the fence, concrete and roofs and $750 on the foul poles.

The L&E Bustamante Concrete Co. Inc., of Abingdon, has been selected for the concrete work, and Fence by Fenner, of Havre de Grace, will install the fencing.

Principal Sean Abel and Athletic Director Jason Bellamy will manage the project along with school and athletic department staffers, according to documents.

The school system's facilities department and Harford County Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits will inspect the work.

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