Turf Field 'Not a Done Deal,' Officials Say
Residents give their suggestions for better use of the money.
A turf field at the high school is “by no means a done deal,” according to Jefferson Township Board of Education business administrator Dora Zeno, a sentiment confirmed by township business administrator James Leach.
While both the township and school board admit a turf field at the high school would be as much of an asset as the one at the Lakeside Field complex is, they also admit that there are many things to be considered, including the financial, engineering and ecological factors.
Preliminary figures for the project from an architect working with the school board came in about about $1.2 million, but board member Frank Cuccio said the board's finance committee is looking for ways to trim that cost.
According to school board president Ron Smith, the township has agreed to “help us with a turf field.
“The town would buy and install the turf for us, and we would work out an agreement where recreation programs could use the field, but school events would always come first,” Smith said.
However, Leach said only an informal meeting has taken place between township and school officials, and plans are preliminary right now.
“I’ve just started to work on a feasibility study,” Leach said. “I’m looking into pricing, plus other issues. We have to look into the ecological side. We have wetlands issues to contend with if we extend the field out to a certain point.”
Leach assured the township council at its meeting on Wednesday night that “you will have loads of information before any agreement is reached. I want to be sure you know that neither the mayor nor I have entered into any sort of agreement with the Board of Education without bringing it to your attention first.”
Based on comments on Jefferson Patch’s Facebook page, several residents do not believe in the necessity of a turf field, no matter who pays for it. And many came up with alternate suggestions for use of the money.
“Maybe we could put the money towards new calculators at the HS, the children aren't allowed to take them home for homework or use them for SAT/ACT testing. Or maybe decent rubber gloves for dissection, it was suggested that they purchase their own,” Sue Dallicardillo said.
“That money should be spent elsewhere,” Laurie Reilly-Norton said.
When the high school is ranked so low in the state they should be focused in improving that as opposed to a nice new turf field!”
Suggesting that the proposal be put out to vote, Elaine Williams Attanasio agreed that the money would be better placed elsewhere.
“A turf field is the last thing our BOE needs to spending 1.2 million dollars on, even if Mr. Cuccio can get the cost to a fraction less,” she said. “Within our district ( which includes so many schools and kids) we need certain things to properly educate our student body a turf field is not even on the long list!”
And Colleen Frederick had another suggestion for the money that didn’t include the school district at all.
“We don't need a field at the high school. Its perfectly good field,” she said. “Plus we have Lakeside Field! Take our tax money and fix our roads. We need new roads. These roads are destroying people’s cars,” she concluded.