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Thursday, January 29, 2015
Schools
Dozens demand artificial-turf fields during Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District meeting
Board of Education promises short- and long-term plans
Scott Brinton/Herald
oponents of installing synthetic-turf athletic fields at the Bellmore-Merrick Central School District’s three high schools came to the June 5 Board of Education meeting dressed in red as a show of solidarity. They protested the condition of the high schools’ fields, which have a number of barren patches, like this one at Calhoun High School in Merrick.

The Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District will not install synthetic-turf athletic fields in 2013-14, Marion Blane, the Board of Education president, said at a June 5 meeting. But synthetic-turf fields are under board consideration for subsequent years, she said.

Reading from a prepared statement, Blane cited the cost of new synthetic-turf fields, as well as that of other possible projects, like upgrading science laboratories and renovating bathrooms, as challenges that the district would have to overcome for the projects to become a reality. She said the board would consider several funding options for projects that it identifies as “critical” in the coming weeks and months, including a possible bond proposal.

In the spring of 2007, the Bellmore-Merrick Board of Education first rejected a proposal to add synthetic-turf fields at Calhoun, Kennedy and Mepham high schools, largely due to the cost. At the time, estimates ranged from a low of $800,000 to redo one football field from end zone to end zone to a high of $1.2 million when all fees and contingencies were factored in, including engineering and architectural charges. Those figures did not include interest charges if the district had bonded the project.

If the fields had been included in the 2007-08 Central District budget and the proposal had passed a public vote, property taxes would have risen more than 9 percent that year. Additionally, the cost of disposing of the artificial turf at a certified landfill after its eight- to 10-year life ranged from $175,000 to $200,000 per field.

In 2009, the Central District Board of Education formed a committee of school officials, parents and residents to examine options to repair and maintain all of the district’s fields. The committee offered recommendations to the superintendent, Dr. Henry Kiernan. After nearly a half-year of deliberations, the group recommended a better maintenance regimen rather than synthetic turf, again citing cost as the primary reason.

Comments

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Pitbull

The data is in, has been for 7 long years. Think about the Student Athletes that would benefit from doing it now. The Irondequoit school district upstate dissolved a reserve in February 2013, of 3.5 million because they felt they did not need it. Bellmore/Merrick has a reserve that they did not need for 80 years of school history. But started one called (EBLAR) in 2002 to pay employees there sick and vacation time when they retired. After starting it, from 2002 to 2009 the district did not spend one Pennie of the reserve to retires that left the district. So I ask the board, if you didn't need the reserve for 80 years and didn't use it for 5 years after you created it. Why do we have it. I say desolve it, ask the community to VOTE on it, take the 7million that is in it now and setup a capital reserve and due Science Labs, bathrooms, band rooms, roofs, windows and of course TURF FIELDS everybody wins the Taxpayer and the Kids. Comment as you may. WE CAN DO IT

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 | Report this
rs0719

Dear Bellmore Herald and Bellmore/Merrick Residents,

I would like to clarify a few things said about me in last week's article about turf fields. The article stated that I am against installing turf fields. This is not true. I concluded my statement by saying, "I am not against turf and bleachers, I just think we need to look at everything." Earlier in my speech, I had said, "I am all for spending more money on bleachers and turf fields if we support other areas." My speech's point was to highlight that there are many things that need to be improved in the district. If we choose to put additional money into athletics, we must, at the same time, put money into all of the other areas that make up the total school program and need to be updated. These improvements must be prioritized by the Board of Education and district officials. A few of the pro-turf field parents who spoke before me mentioned that they are also in favor of fixing everything, not just athletic-related problems. I was glad to hear that. I believe in doing whatever the elected Board of Education and administrative professionals think is best. I did not speak to completely oppose turf fields, but rather to make sure that the decision to install them would be an informed one that was not just based on one group's comments, especially because there are so many different groups each with their own interests. I am not in favor of doing nothing; I am in favor of spending wisely and fixing the most important things first. Even if nothing is improved in the district except for the fields, I will support that decision as long as the Board decides that installing turf fields is its top priority and must be done to enhance the total school program. I thank the Herald for reporting on what I said.

Sincerely,

Ross Shulman

Sunday, June 23, 2013 | Report this
FedUpRealist

I have a top-notch athlete for a child who is an All-County athlete as a FRESHMAN...She would excel at ANY sport she wanted to play...She asked to play lacrosse...However, I won't let her because I would never jeopardize her athletic career on the garbage our district calls athletic fields...It's been an embarassment for years and years...Hey, but lets have multiple superintendants whom have become fat-cats...Just look at their salaries...And here I thought education was a thankless profession where people were just 'enriched' by the minds they mold - not by the wallet they fill...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 | Report this
FedUpRealist

I have a top-notch athlete for a child who is an All-County athlete as a FRESHMAN basketballer...She would excel at ANY sport she wanted to play...She asked to play lacrosse...However, I won't let her because I would never jeopardize her athletic career on the garbage our district calls athletic fields...It's been an embarassment for years and years...Hey, but lets have multiple superintendants whom have become fat-cats...Just look at their salaries...And here I thought education was a thankless profession where people were just 'enriched' by the minds they mold - not by the wallet they fill...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 | Report this
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