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.”