$15 Million High School Athletic Fields Plan is Back for Funding

The redevelopment “Plan” for the Batavia High School athletic fields is taking steps on its way to becoming a reality. But it’s no longer a $13.4 million plan, but is now a $14.5-15 million Plan.

At the 5/27/14 Finance Committee meeting (held at noon when working folks can’t attend), the following information was gleaned:

Artificial turf is on its way. The Boosters have pledged $100,000/yr to fund the artificial turf in the football stadium. Only 3 board members were present: Dremel, Stoops, and Impastato. But they liked the idea of the boosters funding it and wanted to send it to the full board for discussion and approval. They will get actual quotes (not just projections, like the $1.5 million maintenance building that suddenly became $3.1-$3.6 million), and contracts would be signed by December to start building in Summer 2015.

The turf portion of the plan for the stadium was projected to be $1.5 million. At $100,000/yr, it would take the boosters 15 yrs to pay it off. It will already have been replaced by that time (8-10 yr life expectancy), at a cost of at least an additional $400,000. By the time that is paid off, it will likely have been replaced yet again, at the cost of another $400,000. There was no talk of interest or financing costs. In the meantime, the taxpayers front the money. Do you see a problem? The 3 board members didn’t.

Regarding the maintenance building that was slated to be demolished and rebuilt elsewhere according to the Plan, 3 options were presented: Rent and remodel an existing building for $3.1 million, buy and build for $3.6 million, or add the fire alarms and sprinklers necessary to bring the current building up to fire safety code for $135,000. Both Dremel and Impastato were confused. They had thought the maintenance building needed more than $135,000, which they thought would have been a temporary band-aid. That’s why they approved the $13 million Plan with a new $1.5 million building. But apparently the only reason for the new building is that the Plan called for demolition of the current building for more parking spaces.

The new >$3 million price tag gave Dremel and Impastato pause. However, Stoops started questioning whether the current shed is too old (built in the 1960s) and would need replacing soon (note to Stoops: the $135,000 was listed as a 20 yr cost). Rebuilding with over $3 million would mean more niceties, with climate control so they could store copy paper (seriously, this was the first advantage of a new building that was mentioned), buy machinery to hoist engines instead of sending trucks out for some engine repairs, and have a real welding setup. They agreed to continue this discussion next month and bring it to the full board. Hmmm….spend over $3 million unnecessarily or just $135,000 to maintain what we already have? Why is this a tough decision???

Please email the School Board and respectfully let them know what you think.

More to come: JUNE is when they unveil their tentative budget for next year.

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