Need versus availability in regard to fields

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:02

    Some believe that “every silver lining has a touch of grey." In the case of the Sparta High School renovation that grey surrounds lost fields, use of contingency funds and the state rules governing a project of this nature. During construction the Sparta Board of Education (BOE) was informed by the state DEP that a soccer field would be needed for storm water collection. This was in addition to the larger playing area behind the existing school that housed two softball fields, a practice field, and phys ed space. These losses coupled with the failed second question to renovate the existing football field caused the BOE to reassess the educational and athletic needs of the students vs. available facilities. The net result was that the needs far outweighed the available natural grass field space. The board developed a conceptual solution consisting of a multi-purpose synthetic field surrounded by a track. Upon completion this facility will be capable of accommodating all levels of boys and girls soccer and lacrosse, field hockey, football, track & field, marching band practice and phys ed classes. Seeing an additional benefit for the numerous township recreation teams the Sparta Town Council agreed. In February of 2010 the council conveyed an adjoining portion of Station Park to the BOE so that the project could become a much needed reality. The BOE, along with its construction attorney and bond counsel, are confident that given a thorough review by the state Department of Education’s professionals, this grey area will give way to the silver lining of a completed high school field project with no additional tax impact beyond what has already been authorized by the Sparta voters. I am a member of the Sparta Board of Education. This letter is only my personal opinion. It is neither authorized by the board nor written on its behalf. The information is accurate to the best of my ability and is not confidential. Kevin M. Pollison Sparta