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Volunteers help school board avoid costly field repairs

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017 9:53 a.m. CDT

JACKSON JUNCTION (AP) — When a northeast Iowa school board was faced with a costly bill for repairing a baseball outfield, officials decided to seek help from volunteers instead.

A week later, the work is finished and officials happily note they saved about $25,000.

The work was needed at Turkey Valley High School in Jackson Junction, where the outfield’s uneven surface would cause balls to take weird bounces.

“When you’d walk out there, you could see lines in the ground where it was just 5, 6 inches higher, and you could see a little bit of a roll in the outfield. So we kinda needed to level that,” said Dan Stepan, Turkey Valley’s head baseball coach.

Officials sought bids for the work, which came in around $30,000.

School board vice president Don Blazek said that’s a lot of money for the small district.

“Well, $30,000 is basically a new teacher, so it’s a big deal to us,” Blazek said.

Instead of paying a contractor, the board sought help, and about 25 people agreed to do the work.

They quickly donated their time and equipment, finishing the job within a week.

“It says everything about the community,” Blazek said. “They care. Everyone in this school district cares about the school, and cares about what happens here and cares about the kids that go here.”

Besides drastically reducing the cost, their quick works meant there was time to plant grass.

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