2nd Referendum Could See New Turf Field
By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Rehabbed gymnasiums, new LED lighting, enhanced security and enhanced draining on the “embarrassment” baseball field were all part of the $5 million Capital Project presented tonight at a forum by the Cooperstown Central school board.
“The baseball field’s infield has been a real source of embarrassment and hard to maintain,” said Superintendent William Crankshaw. “We are doing a complete refurbishment of the soil and grass.”
According to Crankshaw, both schools will also have improved gyms: the elementary school’s will be expanded without increasing its footprint raised and the junior/high school’s gym will have a new floor and a partition replacement. Additionally, LED lights will be installed throughout the district to save energy costs, and rhe main office for the Junior/Senior high school will be relocated in order to better see who is going in and out of the building, including security enhancements for the vestibule.
The projects were chosen after the district completed a building survey to see what was most urgent to fix.”Building condition surveys, which the state requires to be taken every five years, helped inform what would go into the capital project,” he said.
The elementary school’s repairs and renovations constitute 45 percent and about $2.4 million and the junior/high school, 52 percent and $2.75 million of the 2019 Capital Project’s $5 million. In addition, the school district’s bus garage will also have its foundation walls, doors replaced, and an overall facelift, costing $130,000.
School District residents will vote on a $5 million capital project in a December 17 referendum that Crankshaw said will not increase taxpayers’ bills.
But that’s not all.
Near the end of the meeting, Crankshaw revealed a second project, outside of the capital plan, that voters will be able to decide on.
The baseball field’s infield, which Crankshaw said “had been a real source of embarrassment and hard to maintain” will also have “a complete refurbishment of the soil and grass.”
The proposed synthetic field, dubbed the “Lambert II” for it’s proximity to the beleaguered Lambert Field would be voted on a second referendum. Lambert II’s projected cost is $1.7 million, which would incur an additional cost to taxpayers of $0.0728 per $1,000 or $7.28 per $100,000. That would mean a home valued at $200,000 would add $14.56 to the owner’s tax bill.
“The idea was to create a field that had more year-round usable and more functionality for the district by making a synthetic one,” he explained.
The other major benefit would be it would correct Lambert’s “pronounced drainage issues,” which have interfered with practice and holding games at the field.
A synthetic field would also “extend playability, extend seasonal use…improve safety, and lowers maintenance requirements,” Crankshaw said. “You wouldn’t have to mow it or line it.”
Board member Marcy Birch raised concerns on whether a turf field would not have drainage problems.
“How can we be sure…that…whatever we do with the drainage on a turf field is actually going to work and then what’s the ramifications if it doesn’t?” she asked.
“I do know involved in this project is a lot of research,” Crankshaw replied. “We would have tours of other synthetic fields and talk to other school officials…I would talk to other superintendents, directors of facilities.”
He said Waterville had a 14 year-old turf field “they had had incredible luck with.”
The next public forum will be held on Nov. 13 at 6 p.m.