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School Board Expected to Vote on Turf at Cardinal Stadium at August Meeting

The Upper Dublin School Board discussed laying turf on Cardinal Stadium on Monday night during the July school board meeting. A vote is expected in August.

Bob Danaher, from Upper Dublin Junior Athletic Association, and Bryan Pollack, from Upper Dublin Soccer Club, presented the proposal from the township’s youth sports clubs to lay turf on Cardinal Stadium to the School Board on Monday night.

The already has plans to replace the track, which has been resurfaced twice and needs to be renovated for safety. The track is 25 years old.

Danaher said if the district doesn’t put turf on the field of Cardinal Stadium while replacing the track, the board might as well say they are not going to turf Cardinal Stadium.

He added that the process of laying turf requires a lot heavy equipment inside the stadium.

Danaher said the youth sports groups in the township have been raising funds for the past four years, and have raised $425,000, .

An original engineer’s report for the stadium and track, listed the turf for Cardinal Stadium as costing close to $1 million.

Danaher said a report showed there is 69 hours of community use of Cardinal Stadium each year. However, he added that 60 of those hours are for the special needs camp use, so only nine hours are true community use.

He anticipates that laying turf on the field will increase community use by many hundreds of hours.

He added that, considering the condition of fields at Sandy Run Middle School, it could be a location for the middle school football, field hockey, and soccer to play.

School Board Director, Joan Ludwig, asked the cost savings of a turf versus grass field on the stadium, and the replacement cost.

Danaher said there is accost savings, turf doesn’t need lining, mowing, fertilizing, or irrigating - equaling a considerable savings in materials and manpower. Turf has a lifecycle of 10 to 12 years, and Danaher said the district should reserve between $30,000 and $40,000 a year for replacement costs.

School Board Director Michael Resnick estimated that the project: track, turf, and the eventual need for new bleachers, will cost the district over $1.5 million, and asked, “How are we going to pay for it?”

Danaher also touched on the safety of a turf field, stating that under the turf is n E-layer, which is like a mattress, making the surface soft to fall on. He also said there is a fungicide that is supposed to be sprayed onto the field at least once a month to keep from spreading infection.

Board President, Joe Chmielewski, said the board could vote on the turf, as well as the track at their August 13 meeting. The board can decide to vote on bidding the turf, or simply the engineering.

Chmielewski said, “It’s in our best interest to have the project ready to go.”

The youth sports groups are paying for engineering, so there is no financial commitment if the school board decides to votes only to get engineering done on turf for Cardinal Stadium.

Joe Koenig July 24, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Dr. Resnick was the only sane voice in the room!! Where's the $$ coming from?? The Board can barely balance the budget now. First Mr. Danaher states there is no maintenance on the turf, then later on he mentions two or three things that need to be done on a regular basis. The turf must be relaced in 8-10 years at a current estimate of $400,000 (his figure). He states the $$ wil come from user fees. If that does not materialize, will his group pay for the returfing?? All this speculation on future income is just that, speculation. Raise all the $$ Bob, then collect all the fees and maintain the field. Look around you, the taxpayers have no pockets left!!
Peter July 24, 2012 at 07:10 PM
"...so only nine hours are true community use. He anticipates that laying turf on the field will increase community use by many hundreds of hours." So we are going to go from 9 hours to several hundred hours??? Bob, I seriously doubt the community is staying away from the field in droves because it isn't turf. I also find it hard to believe that the current grass field costs more than $85,000 a year to maintain. (That is $1 million up front + $35K a year for 20 years, or about $85K averaged over 20 years) And that doesn't include the unknown cost of the fungicide for the turf. It sounds like the only person who really wants the turf is Mr. Danaher.
Jeanne July 25, 2012 at 11:22 AM
Aren't we taxed enough? Pu-lease!
Jeanne July 25, 2012 at 11:23 AM
Thank you Joe!
Dot July 25, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Ditto, Joe. #1 There is no money in this turnip. #2. How did the board of Commissioners deign to give away $100,000.00 when our taxes keep going up just with the "normal wear & tear" of the township? #3. How can this proposal even deserve a hearing when there are no hard numbers being presented? What is the true cost of installing, annual and periodic maintenance? How often do teams from the Upper Dublin Junior Athletic Association and Upper Dublin Soccer Club use the field? Do they pay user fees? What is the fee for use? What about the fungicide? How safe is that when these kids get tackled and end up with their faces schmooshed into the field? Google artificial turf and there are numerous sites speaking to the safety, upkeep costs, etc.
E Dubya July 26, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Well stated Joe. Turf is a nice to have not a need. UDSD must change their mindset from needing nice to haves across the district to more responsible fiscal management. The tax base continues to shrink and yet they keep wanting raise taxes.
Azaz Leforte July 27, 2012 at 01:55 PM
The turf idea is assinine. The reality is, this is a game of keeping up with the Jones. Wisshickon has Nexturf...how could Upper Dublin not? If we hadn't blown so much money on building the school...if the teacher contract had been handled differently...if..if..if. What is truly ironic in my book is that Mr Danaher, Resnick and Commissioner Derr were the ones who championed this cause. Mr Derr put forth the township board's vote in support of earmarking $100k to this process. This is the same Commissioner Derr who voted down library capital funding. A library that is open to the entire populace... not just the athletic crowd. The hipocrissy is amazing considering his "fiscal conservatism".
Joe Koenig July 27, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Wow!! Azaz, we agree again. I am very dissapointed in Mr. Derr, and silence from Mr. Levinowitz on the School Board. I'm not sure that the UDEA doesn't have it tentacles eveywhere in the township. There needs to be a change of culture on the School Board, top to bottom!!
Stop with the Taxes July 27, 2012 at 03:55 PM
One more comment on the field. Does this school board realize that the space available inside the track is too small to support a regulation field for soccer and lacrosse? Has their Athletic Director told them? The PIAA has specific dimension requirements for fields, they grandfather in older fields that might not have the space but new fields should follow the current dimension requirements. The track runs right up against the stands so it cannot be moved to provide more room on the field. The current field is not wide enough for those sports and when they play at the Stadium, which they don’t do much anymore, they play on a non regulation field. To see what I mean go look at the two SPARK fields. The upper field is lined for Girls Lacrosse and Soccer and is much wider than the lower field which is not lined for those sports. That is why they do not play soccer or girls lacrosse on the lower field. Anyone who knows boys lacrosse knows they play on a small field at SPARK. The youth sports don’t care about a regulation field which is why they are pushing for the field. Why would the School Board put in a turf field which does not meet the PIAA dimensions required of new fields for most of the potential users? The Field will not fit.
Dot July 27, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Amen, Joe.
Curmudgeon July 27, 2012 at 05:22 PM
There is no Athletic Director, is there???

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