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F-M takes on turf again

Plans for a new roofless athletic stadium at Fayetteville-Manlius High School were the focus of the special board of education meeting Monday night, where residents came out to voice their opinions on the project after a slideshow presentation.

Issues with parking, restrooms, security and handicap accessibility were some of the rationale for the construction of a new stadium that would cost $4.6 million and include an artificial turf field. While the potential dangers of artificial turf were what prompted the special meeting, safety was only one of many issues discussed.

Dave Martin, chair of the facilities committee on the F-M School Board, opened the meeting by giving the chronology of how the referendum had been tabled. On Oct. 29, the board approved a resolution to put the turf field project up for public vote on Dec. 13. Prior to that vote, the board voted to cancel that resolution pending a review by the New York State Legislature of the potential danger of crumb rubber infill.

Crumb rubber is made by grinding up rubber fragments to the size of sand or silt and is used to substitute natural soil in artificial turf. Residents have expressed concern over the potential harmfulness of crumb rubber, both for players on the playing field and for the potential contamination of nearby groundwater.

Rich Roy, director of athletics, said that while there has been speculation on both sides, there has been no conclusive evidence as to the danger of crumb rubber.

"Whether it's fact or fiction is really moot at this point," Roy said. "It is enough of a concern that it has compromised the success of the referendum passing."

Representatives from Appel Osborne Landscape Architecture presented various alternative forms of artificial turf that didn't contain crumb rubber, as well as the cost of an artificial field in comparison to a natural field.

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