Board of Education Passes Resolution Allowing Public to Vote on Athletic Field and Cultural Arts Improvements Project
The Board of Education of the Katonah-Lewisboro Union Free School District voted on October 20, 2009 to put forth a public referendum on December 8, 2009. If this referendum passes, it will authorize the use of Capital Reserve funds to renovate the existing John Jay High School baseball field, develop a new softball field and rectangular turf field at AP Farm Athletic Fields, and improve conditions of the facilities used by student musicians. This referendum follows the community’s vote in March 2009 to establish and fund a $3.15 million Capital Reserve.
The proposed project for athletics and the arts would be funded entirely with monies in the Capital Reserve Fund and would satisfy the requirements of local philanthropists Adam Rose and Peter McQuillan, who stipulated that their gift of 8+ acres of land adjacent to the John Jay High School was to be used for the purpose of developing AP Farm Athletic Fields.
The referendum is based on discussions and meetings over the past several years and the recommendations of the Field Advisory Network, a committee which included Board members, design professionals, and community members with expertise in finance, construction and athletic programming. Public perspectives were also shared over the past several months in a series of community forums. During those forums, Assistant Superintendent for Business Michael Jumper and Director of Athletics, Physical Education, Health and Wellness Christian McCarthy presented information as to the District's historical and well documented need for additional fields, how the project would be funded, and what the completed project would entail.
Michael Gordon, President of the Board of Education, thanked the community for their participation and input during the months leading up to last night's resolution. Mr Gordon also thanked the John Jay High School Campus Congress, which reviewed and gave feedback on the proposals the Board considered. Campus Congress voted unanimously in support of the proposed project. On behalf of the Board, Mr. Gordon thanked Campus Congress for the hard work they put into studying the various proposals and providing thoughtful comments.
The proposed project would only use funds available in the Capital Reserve Fund. There would be no new taxes and no bond to pay for the proposed project. Board member Eve Hundt noted that the proposed project is a "scaled-back" version of a more ambitious field improvement plan that had been considered a few years ago, but was substantially reduced in view of the current fiscal climate. On the cost front, the District expects that it will be able to take advantage of current market conditions to procure competitive construction bids.
If the community approves the referendum, the following are key components of construction that are expected to begin in fall 2010:
• Construction of a natural grass softball field at the AP Farm Athletic Fields in compliance with the interscholastic sectional regulations,
• Renovation and regrading of the existing high school baseball field to conform to interscholastic section standards,
• Development of a rectangular multipurpose turf field with environmentally friendly in-fill at AP Farm site,
• Construction of a restroom facility and landscaping at AP Farm Athletic Fields site, and
• Installation of air conditioning in the band and chorus rooms and hallways for climate control and installation of musical instrument storage lockers at John Jay high school.
The total estimated cost of the referendum is $3,128,927. There will be $21,073 in unused Capital Reserve Funds set aside for future use.
The following is the resolution that will be voted upon by the community on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.:
Shall the Board of Education be authorized to expend out of the Capital Reserve Fund, established and funded on March 17, 2009, a sum not to exceed $3,128,927, for the purpose of installing a new synthetic turf field, natural grass field (ex. Softball Field), backstops, players’ areas, and a restroom/storage facility, on the AP Farm Athletic Fields, renovation of the existing baseball field at the John Jay High School (including but not limited to field grading, and improvements to field drainage systems); renovation of the HVAC system in the performing arts area of the John Jay High School to include air conditioning; installation of storage casework for musical instruments and related band/orchestra items; all of the foregoing to include all labor, materials, equipment, apparatus and incidental costs, and further providing that the detailed costs of the components of the above-referenced projects may be reallocated among such components if the Board of Education shall determine that such reallocation is in the best interest of the District.
Additional information is posted and will continue to be added to the Katonah-Lewisboro School District Web site; please check www.klschools.org for more information.