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Sparta Turf Field Plan Close to Being Finalized

Board of Education will hold special meeting next week to discuss $3.25 million project.

Plans for adding a $3.25 million multi-purpose turf field at Sparta High School are expected to be finalized at a special Board of Education meeting on Oct. 15 before the community votes in December's referendum.

The process to renovate the high school's athletic complex began two years ago, when school officials identified a need to accomodate more space for athletic programs.

"We have a large athletic program, a large student body that uses fields for physical education use, so there's a need to improve our outdoor facilities as far as fields," District Superintendent Dennis Tobin said.

The turf field would allow multiple sports to play throughout the entire year, and at night if lights are added.

A previous referendum for a $4.5 million multi-purpose field project was defeated in March by about 150 votes, but the Board of Education has since developed a new, less expensive plan.

The original turf field plan involved adding a track around the new field, but school officials decided to remove that option and just replace the current track to decrease the cost.

Tobin said the current track is in poor shape, and the school hasn't been able to have a home meet over the past three years.

The cost for the new plan and the specifics for what will be added—whether it's lights, a concession stand, bathrooms and the number of bleachers—will be determinned at the meeting on Oct. 15. At the last Board of Education meeting on Sept. 24, the members decided to have the turf field located behind the school.

For the 1,200-plus students who attend Sparta High School, more space is needed for the sports and physical education classes, Tobin said.

He noted that are more than 30 sports and 68 team levels that range from freshman to varsity, with 44 of those teams that play during the fall and spring on the outdoor facilities.

Part of the reason the school needs more space, Tobin said, is because some of the additional field space was taken away when the school was expanded in 2011. A $72.5 million reconstruction project during the 2010-11 school year completely revitalized the high school.

Another reason Tobin said more field space is needed is because the school is mandated by the NJDEP to have a required wetland retention basin, which prevents them from using their total acreage.

Once the final plan is decided, there will be a referendum in December for the community to vote.

The special meeting will be held on Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Mohawk Avenue School auditorium.

Nursechris October 08, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Please remind me; are the Sparta citizens being allowed to vote on whether we will approve this plan? Whether it is $4+million or $3+million, I don't think it is something we can afford right now. My house can't put out one more penny in taxes for these schools at the moment.
Nursechris October 08, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Oops. That's right....there is a "special referendum" in December. That costs over $15k for the vote to take place. We had no say as to whether that would take place or not. This Board of Ed. needs to learn what it means to "tighten your belt".

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