Keystone Central’s chances of landing NFL grant ‘very slim’

MILL HALL — Central Mountain High School’s Malinak Stadium is going to need new turf — but don’t expect an NFL Foundation Grassroots Program grant to help pay for it.

Following Thursday night’s voting session, Keystone Central School District superintendent Jacquelyn Martin said that while the grant is still in play, the chances of the district getting the grant are “very slim.” In the eyes of the NFL, KCSD’s “home team” is the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“The board has not taken any action to pursure that grant. My understanding is that they’re going to be more likely to donate the money to a field in inner-city Pittsburgh — or at least western Pennsylvania. We wouldn’t be top on their priority list,” Martin said.

At May’s school board meeting, which was held at Bucktail High School, the board tabled a submission for up to $250,000 in funding.

The artificial turf at Malinak Stadium is nearing the end of its useful life, so something will need to be done sooner rather than later, she said.

Martin said the district hasn’t ruled out a return to natural grass.

“Do we want turf? There are pros and cons to turf. Do we want to look at natural (grass)? We need to look at the pros and cons of both. If you do (grass) you have to give it a rest. Plus, you have mowing. Now you’ve got different costs,” Martin said.

Martin also said that the district is looking at ways to increase revenue in the athletic department.

“The board authorized me and my team to rather than cut into athletics, look at other ways to form revenue. The percentage of our budget that we spend on athletics and activities is about 1.54 percent of our overall budget. We are running two athletic programs,” Martin said.

By comparison with other programs in the state, she said, the district stacks up well.

“We looked at athletic programs that we compete against and we are among the lowest,” Martin said.