The following piece was submitted by the Liverpool Central School District Stadium Committee with the support of the district’s Booster clubs and PTAs. For more information, contact members of the committee at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Liverpool High School Athletic Field
Proposed Project –“Frequently Asked Questions”
Vote February 26, 2009 and visit liverpool.k12.ny.us/liverpool_high.cfm
Why is this needed?
Turf, track and bleachers are essentially unusable.
Why are they essentially unusable?
1. The bleachers are 30 years old and are not-ADA compliant. They recently failed an insurance inspection.
2. The original contractor for the track and turf was doing this type of project for the first time and used the wrong materials as fill underneath large portions of the track and turf. This resulted in heaving which has rendering much of the turf unusable. Some track repairs have been made to alleviate the heaving, but the fill underneath is still bad and meets still cannot be held until it’s replaced.
Can we get the original contractor to fix it?
No, they are no longer in business. Options are being pursued to try and get some remuneration, but that will take years to resolve.
How can we be certain it will be done right this time?
Times have changed. There are more experienced contractors available, and a third party type of insurance is now required to protect the district in the event of a contractor going out of business. The landscape architects to be used on this project are nationally recognized and they happen to live in our school district. They will make sure this is done correctly.
What is the impact on my taxes?
Zero. There will be no tax increase to pay for this.
How will this be paid for then?
Some State Excel Aid ($200,000), district turf reserve fund ($110,000), the rest will come from state and district capital reserve funds. For each 0.22 spent out of district reserve, $1 of work will be performed. Proposition is to use $1.575 million out of district capital reserve. The rest will come from state capital reserve.
How can this be justified given the current state of the economy, especially with school budget cuts looming next year?
District and state capital reserve funds can’t be used to offset operating budget cuts, they can ONLY be used for capital projects.
If we’re accessing district and state capital reserve funds, won’t my taxes go up to replenish them?
At the district level, no, that’s built into the project funding profile listed above. We can’t speak for what the state will do as there are too many variables. We can tell you this, however: the state capital reserve is meant for capital projects. It was funded by our tax dollars. If we don’t use it, it will be available for any other school district to use.
Why not just fix the bleachers?
Fixing the bleachers would cost about 75 percent of replacing then, but state aid can’t be used to fix them, only to replace them. Therefore, it’s cheaper for the district to replace them.
Why artificial turf instead of grass?
1. A properly installed grass field costs much more than most people realize. When factoring in the cost of maintenance, the artificial turf is actually cheaper.
2. Safety differences are a “toss up.” The latest studies on the newest generation of artificial turf vs. grass shows the differences are arguable. Sometimes grass comes out ahead and sometimes turf comes out ahead. In general, turf has a higher percentage of minor injuries (i.e., abrasions), while grass has a higher percentage of more serious injuries (i.e., concussions). Field Turf does not get rock hard during dry spells like grass does.
3. Given items one and two, the most important reason artificial turf was chosen was availability of use. A grass field would only support football and field hockey games, and the annual band show in the fall, and lacrosse games in the spring (~50 to 60 events annually). A turf field would support five+ times more events annually including games, practices and use by other sports (such as soccer). It would be available much earlier every spring (field open in March while the snow is melting and the ground needs to firm up on grass fields). It also would probably be available in the fall of 2010 while the rooting of a grass field would probably prevent usage until spring 2011.
What happens if the state capital reserve is reduced during the life of the project?
The project won’t happen if sufficient state building aid isn’t received to pay for it. The BOE is committed to no tax increase for this project.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.