Dozens of residents armed with participation charts and traffic photos attended the Brighton Area Schools Board of Education meeting Monday night to protest the proposed Scranton Middle School athletic field as part of the $88.4 million bond passed by voters in May.
Many residents are not happy that the football field will now be located behind the school, according to design plans from the bond architect, SHW Group. The location was changed because placing it in front of the school would have overlapped into a secondary septic system and an additional easement required on the Scranton Roundabout, Brighton Superintendent Greg Gray said in an informational meeting Oct. 10.
Many residents urged school board members to postpone the vote on SHW's Design and Development package, which is scheduled for the next meeting on Nov. 12. They would like to see an alternative recommendation, or have the field go back to its original location in front of the school.
Green Oak resident Jack Barry said the athletic facility upgrades at Scranton will have a negative impact, with less games being held because the football field will be built over two existing soccer fields.
However, Gray said that there is no impact in relation to the number of games or contests the district can hold at its facilities. With the addition of an artificial turf field, weather no longer has an impact and lights will extend play times.
Green Oak resident Brenda Goebbel said she is concerned with the operational and maintenance costs of additions to the field, like restrooms and concessions.
"This general fund pie is being cut into smaller and smaller slices anytime you put in a new concession stand, a bathroom - anything that requires operation and maintenance, that's coming from that general fund," she said. "I suggest we eliminate these amenities from this bond. They weren't voted on and spend the money elsewhere."
Gray said operation and maintenance of the new fields is something the district has prepared for and can handle.
"We maintain our fields presently and grass is a higher maintenance cost than artificial turf because you don't have to mow it, you don't have to seed it and you don't have to fix it every year," he said. "I don't understand the large cost relation to maintenance for that. Obviously there will be some electric costs in relation to the lighting. If we have bathrooms, we actually have on-staff plumbers that drain the pipes prior to winter or winterizing those particular areas. We have an operating budget that can handle that."
Gray said he will ask SHW to review residents' complaints and concerns. He will also be meeting with board President Cheryl Leach to address the comments from the meeting.
To see the original bond application or the schematic designs for the first bond series, visit the Brighton Area Schools website Bond Update page.