UDSB ap­proves engi­neer­ing de­signs for sta­dium im­prove­ments

The Ambler Gazette - - OPINION - By Eric Devlin

The Up­per Dublin School Board ap­proved a con­tract for the cre­ation of de­signs for im­prove­ments to Car­di­nal Sta­dium dur­ing its Aug. 13 meet­ing.

A $54,750 con­tract was given to D’Huy Engi­neer­ing for de­sign ser­vices and spec­i­fi­ca­tions for im­prove­ments to Car­di­nal Sta­dium.

D’Huy Engi­neer­ing gave the dis­trict a $10,000 credit be­cause of the amount of work they have done in Up­per Dublin Town­ship, said dis­trict Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tor Brenda Bray.

Ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion from the dis­trict, the sta­dium is in need of sig­nif­i­cant ren­o­va­tions and im­prove­ments.

“The scope of pro­posed work in­cludes re­plac­ing or resur­fac­ing the ex­ist­ing syn­thetic track and field event fa­cil­i­ties and re­plac­ing the grass sur­face with syn­thetic turf. Community groups have pledged $7,000 to par­tially de­fray the cost of the con­tract,” ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion from the dis­trict.

Board Pres­i­dent Joseph Ch­mielewski said the dis­trict, with that $7,000 do­na­tion, will be pre­par­ing to pay $47,750. He said he thought the bid num­ber was “in­flated above” the pos­si­ble $40,000 the board dis­cussed at the last meet­ing.

“I think there’s an ad­di­tional $8,000 dol­lars of ad­di­tional work that needs to be done to bring that for­ward as far as ap­provals are con­cerned,” he said. “To be very spe­cific there’s a kPDES [ka­tional Pol­lu­tant Dis­charge Elim­i­na­tion Sys­tem] and con­ser­va­tion dis­trict ap­proval which is chang­ing. It’s some­thing that we have to ob­tain their ap­proval. It’s $8,850 for that and then the bid phase piece is $5,000.”

Ch­mielewski said if the work were to take place, it would pro­vide drainage through the turf where the wa­ter would be sent to the basin built for the high school. He said all drainage is­sues com­ing from the high school field would be taken care of com­pletely.

The 25-year-old track has been resur­faced twice and has cracks in it. Turf­ing the sta­dium would pro­vide field ac­cess for S,000 to 7,000 youths that par­tic­i­pate in town­ship­spon­sored sports pro­grams, ac­cord­ing to Bob Dana­her, of the Up­per Dublin Ju­nior Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion, dur­ing last month’s meet­ing. He said use of the field “would go up hun­dreds of times” if it were turfed.

Dana­her said, “If you re­place the track and don’t do an ar­ti­fi­cial turf at that time, it won’t ever hap­pen.”

Over the past four years, ath­letic as­so­ci­a­tions have been rais­ing money for a turf field es­ti­mated to cost $1 mil­lion, Dana­her said, not­ing they so far had raised ap­prox­i­mately $425,000. He said a $100,000 place hold by the town­ship com­mis­sion­ers was in the bud­get should the dis­trict de­cide to move for­ward with the new field.

Dur­ing the pub­lic com­ment sec­tion of the meet­ing, Michael hlein said he’s served on the com­mit­tee that divvies up field and gym space and if the dis­trict doesn’t turf the field, there are three op­tions, all of which would neg­a­tively im­pact youth sports. The first would be to limit the num­ber of kids in pro­grams, the sec- ond would be to in­crease the num­ber of kids on a team and the third would be to in­crease the num­ber of teams on a field, lim­it­ing time on a field.

hlein said the fields were in “bad shape” from overuse and were not meant to con­stantly be in use.

Ch­mielewski re­minded ev­ery­one in at­ten­dance the vote was for the engi­neer­ing de­signs and an ap­proval vote wouldn’t take place un­til win­ter. He said it was ob­vi­ous the turf field would be ben­e­fi­cial to the community, not­ing it would help the dis­trict with PE classes.

In other busi­ness, the board con­tin­ued to deal with the is­sue of nu­tri­tious food be­ing served in schools af­ter it was sug­gested not enough was be­ing done dur­ing the pub­lic com­ment sec­tion of the meet­ing.

Jill Florin and Stacey Ap­pel­stein, con­cerned par­ents who are part of the group kutri­tion in the Schools, said the task of re­mov­ing preser­va­tives from the in­gre­di­ents used in food was made to seem like an in­sur­mount­able task by the food ser­vices di­rec­tor but said they felt it was very doable.

The two felt the board was re­ceiv­ing mis­in­for­ma­tion that would al­low the dis­trict to keep serv­ing un­healthy foods.

Ap­pel­stein sug­gested the dis­trict was re­ceiv­ing mone­tary re­bates from com­pa­nies like in­clud­ing Frito-iay and Jen­nie-O pro­cessed tur­key prod­ucts, both of which are pur­chased by the dis­trict, for con­tin­u­ing to use their prod­ucts in schools.

Bray later replied the dis­trict did in fact re­ceive re­bates, but they weren’t sig­nif­i­cant.

Su­per­in­ten­dent Michael Pladus said it’s dif­fi­cult to bal­ance nu­tri­tious foods ver­sus a bot­tom line but said the community mem­bers who spoke at the meet­ing rep­re­sented strong community in­volve­ment. He said the dis­trict has set a high bar for it­self and it has made reach­ing that bar dif­fi­cult. He said it was a chal­lenge but they were work­ing on it.

Board sice Pres­i­dent Deb­bie Men­del­son called the food ser­vices sit­u­a­tion a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion and said she hoped the board would look into in­for­ma­tion to be able to of­fer healthy food with­out be­ing in the red.

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