In a filled board room, nearly five years after the first discussion of turf at Eastern, the school board voted 6-3 Thursday to move forward with a stadium project that will cost the district about $780,000.
Board members Lorraine Kellner, Robert Flaharty Jr. and Ronald Abel voted against the motion.
The approved bid, which will be paid through the district's capital construction fund, includes turf on the stadium field, a centerfield logo and a track upgrade.
The project is expected to begin at the conclusion of spring sports and should be completed by early August.
Flaharty, who voted against the measure, said he could not support "spending nearly a million dollars on something that will only benefit 13 percent of the students."
Flaharty said he would have liked to have seen the money utilized on other building improvements.
"This is a want, not a need," he added.
Flaharty also argued that the actual amount of the turf should include the $55,000 the district would need to set aside each year for the next eight years for necessary replacement costs.
Business manager Teresa Wilson said that while the district is facing a $2.6 million deficit, the nearly $1.9 million in the district's capital construction fund cannot be used to offset the deficit.
"Monies in this account must be used for district improvements or to pay down debt services," she said.
Board member Darvin Shelley, a vocal supporter of turfing the stadium field, was among those who voted in favor of the project.
"Anyone who has been at our facilities knows this isn't a want, this is definitely a need," he said.
The nearly 50 people in attendance applauded.