Eas­ton schools spike plans for new sta­dium

The Morning Call - - FRONT PAGE - By Michelle Mer­lin Morn­ing Call re­porter Michelle Mer­lin can be reached at 610-820-6533 or at mmer­[email protected]

Cit­ing costs, board mem­bers re­jected a new $20 mil­lion Cot­ting­ham Sta­dium.

Eas­ton Area School Board mem­bers Tues­day of­fi­cially spiked plans for a new $20 mil­lion Cot­ting­ham Sta­dium.

Sev­eral board mem­bers on Sept. 10 said the plans were too ex­pen­sive to jus­tify. In­terim Su­per­in­ten­dent Frank D’An­gelo with­drew a rec­om­men­da­tion for the plans that even­ing.

On Tues­day, board mem­bers voted to re­ject the sta­dium bids, with Meg Sayago the only no vote and Robert Fehnel ab­stain­ing.

Now dis­trict of­fi­cials are try­ing to come up with a cheaper way to do some­thing about the nearly cen­tury-old sta­dium, which is in dire need of re­pair. D’An­gelo said dis­trict of­fi­cials and their ar­chi­tec­ture team are work­ing to come up with a long-term so­lu­tion. A tem­po­rary fix is not con­sid­ered fea­si­ble, he said.

“We are work­ing ef­fi­ciently, but we will not work hur­riedly be­cause we want what’s best, and best comes in af­ford­abil­ity and fea­si­bil­ity and prac­ti­cal­ity,” he said.

Sayago said she had planned to vote for the plans, and noted that the sta­dium was part of a mul­ti­year cap­i­tal plan that also in­cluded ren­o­va­tions to aca­demic build­ings. She said the dis­trict has also put money to­ward ed­u­ca­tional im­prove­ments by im­ple­ment­ing the dis­trict’s 1:1 tech­nol­ogy plan, all-day kinder­garten and hir­ing ad­di­tional teach­ers.

She said the Cot­ting­ham pro­ject demon­strates the dis­trict’s com­mit­ment to the city and its neigh­bor­hoods.

“The foot­ball pro­gram has a unique and spe­cial his­tory and tra­di­tion in Eas­ton that ex­tends out to other ath­letic pro­grams, mu­sic and aca­demics,” she said.

A com­mit­tee of stake­hold­ers to con­sider the is­sue first met in De­cem­ber 2017, and of­fi­cials have been dis­cussing and re­view­ing sta­dium plans since then.

Of­fi­cials hoped the board could ap­prove the plans for the new sta­dium this month in or­der for a new sta­dium to be ready for next year’s foot­ball sea­son.

In March 2018, the board was told that build­ing a new sta­dium at the West Ward lo­ca­tion would cost about $10.8 mil­lion, while build­ing it at the high school in Palmer Town­ship would cost $15.4 mil­lion.

The fi­nal bids for the sta­dium amounted to about $17.35 mil­lion in con­struc­tion costs. If the board se­lected other op­tions and fac­tored in soft costs, the price tag rose to about $20 mil­lion.

MORN­ING CALL FILE PHOTO

The Eas­ton Area School Board punted on plans to build a new $20 mil­lion Cot­ting­ham Sta­dium.

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