Blakemore Field in Van Buren is expected to have new artificial turf for the start of the 2015-16 school year.

Members of the Van Buren School District voted Tuesday night to hire Athletic Surfaces Plus to provide consulting services for the turf replacement project.

Superintendent Kerry Schneider told the board the current surface has "reached the end of its life."

"What we have now is a first-generation turf," Schneider said. "What we will get now is a much better turf which should last longer."

He said the consulting firm will assist the district in developing and completing the bid process and supervise the installation of the new surface.

Activities Director Drew Cone and Athletic Director Randy Loyd already have commitments of $295,000 from sponsors to help defray the cost of the replacement, which is expected to cost just over $300,000, Schneider said.

The consulting firm will be paid 8 to 13 percent of the gross. Tuesday, the board approved a $10,000 payment with additional payments to be paid at the start of construction and upon the start of turf installation.

Board member Kevin Bell suggested the district set aside funds on a yearly basis so that the next time the turf needs to be replaced the district would not have to rely so heavily on donations from vendors.

Retiring teachers and staff were recognized at the meeting. Included were:

Maj. Joseph Akins, 15 years with VBSD and 40 years total; Renee Baldwin, 36 years with VBSD; Angela Barker, 29 years with VBSD; Deborah Coomer, 14 years with VBSD; Ricky Franklin, 36 years with VBSD; Fran Hall, 13 years with VBSD and 43 years total; Linda Hill, 34 years with VBSD; Linda King, 20 years with VBSD and 27 years total; Betty Mabray, 26 years with VBSD and 36 years total.

Also, Jan Moore, nine years with VBSD and 33 years total; Hope Parrish, 27 years with VBSD; Barbara Rogers, 10 years with VBSD; Dr. Harry Tommey, 28 years with VBSD and 32 years total; Kenny Trent, 24 years with VBSD; Jerry Watson, 10 years with VBSD; Judy Wilhelm, 20 years with VBSD; and Jerry Wood, 28 years with VBSD and 33 years total.

The board also:

• Approved a yearly contract of $8,930.25 with Allstate Termite and Pest Solutions to provide monthly pest control services. Allstate is the current vendor.

• Agreed to a two-year contract with Przybysz and Associates for district audits in 2016 and 2017. Przybysz has performed audits in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and will in 2015.

• Approved a bid of $68,068.15 from Swaim Office Supply for 2,520 cases of copy paper.