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Turf Possible for High School Football Field, BOE Says

Renovations could come as soon as 2013-14 school year.

To turf or not to turf? That is the question that the J is currently considering for the football field.

The building needs and finance committee did a cost analysis and received preliminary approvals for the football field, bleachers and track. The architect’s preliminary recommendation is for a budget of $1.2 million for the football field and bleachers and an additional $500,000 for the track. The committee is considering moving forward with just the football field and bleachers at this point, according to Frank Cuccio, building needs and finance committee chairman.

Cuccio wants it made clear, however, that the board is not writing out a check for $1.2 million.

“First of all, the project will be a shared expense with the township,” Cuccio said. “In addition, the committee is currently working on solutions to bring the cost down significantly.”

Cuccio suggested lowered expectations, new bidders and fundraising as possible ways to get the project to a manageable cost.

Both Cuccio and Jefferson Township business administrator James Leach agreed that there has been no formalized agreement between the township and the school district as to a split of costs. And while Cuccio has high hopes of having the turf in place for the 2013-14 fall sport season, Leach said he was unaware of the suggested time frame.

“I think that time frame is very optimistic,” Leach said.

“There’s a lot that has to happen between now and then to get this project done, but I have high hopes,” Cuccio said. “It will take a lot of community support.

Cuccio said that a turf field would be used for many sports, including soccer, field hockey and lacrosse, as well as band and cheerleading competitions.

He further explained that restorations to the current track would keep it usable, which led the committee away from approving the track renovation at this time.

“The committee realizes that a turf field is a costly venture,” Cuccio said. “But we also realize that maintaining grass fields is costly as well, between seed, soil, mowing, fertilizing and watering. We spent about $8,500 last year just to seed and soil the middle school field so the kids could play soccer.”

Mike September 12, 2012 at 11:33 AM
Wow, $8500 a year to seed and soil the field? Yeah that's comparable to 1.2 million. Let's see, even it it cost $20,000 a year to seed the field it would take 60 years to break even on this investment. That's a great ROI!
Sue Toth (Editor) September 12, 2012 at 01:21 PM
While I am in no way voicing my personal opinion as to the merits of grass vs. turf, perhaps the thing I didn't make clear is that the $8,500 that Mr. Cuccio mentioned is only for seed and soil, and only for one field. Watering, mowing and fertilizing also have a cost involved, and the school district is responsible for more than one field, not just the middle school. There are several practice and game fields on the high school property, and another field at the bus compound, all of which fall under the school district's domain.
Paul Newman September 12, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Hey Sue, Perhaps you could do a followup so folks know what the maintenance cost savings would be. Maybe Mr Cuccio can provide a cost savings study when available to the public so they have a better handle on how this will affect them.
Sue Toth (Editor) September 12, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Thanks Paul, I will work on that.
Mike September 12, 2012 at 02:05 PM
I was just being sarcastic obviously. I really don't have a strong opinion either way I just think it's funny. If they want to build the field they will find a way to justify it whether it makes sense or not.
Sue Toth (Editor) September 12, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Mike I apologize. I was just trying to provide as much information as possible.
Tom Hantson September 12, 2012 at 08:30 PM
So if it is $8500 for one field, they are only putting turf on one field. There is more than just the turf. You have to by the equipment to maintain the turf. If the town helps pay for the turf fied does it open it up to other outside activities besides BOE? When are they going to put new windows in Briggs? I think needs like that should be looked into first.

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