By Mal Boright
September 19th, 2013
Now the decision is up to the public.
Champlain Valley Union High School district voters are being asked for a $1.5 million bond issue to help fund artificial turf on two athletic fields, seating and lights at one of the fields.
The CVU School Board voted unanimously at its Sept. 11 meeting to ask the community to approve the bond. Board chairman David Rath said the question will go to a district vote Nov. 5.
In the meantime, the volunteer committee raising private funds for the project continues its efforts, which have gathered momentum in recent weeks.
“We find that now that the board is behind us, it is easier to raise the money,” said Kelly Austin, committee co-chairwoman, on Tuesday.
Austin estimated that the committee needs to raise in the range of $800,000 for the project to be fully funded. This is after the board made available a $150,000 capital fund surplus that had been designated for athletic facilities.
“As of a couple of days ago, we were at $252,000 that we have raised,” Austin said, noting the total is changing daily.
She said the committee has applied for several grants and also has been designated a chosen charity of the year by the Burlington Free Press.
Rath said the bond issue, if passed, would not mean an increase in bond payments for the district as its other bonds will see reduced payments.
Board members looked at other available options and found adding turf to the fields was the most practical.
One option that was considered, a renewal of the current fields, would cost up to $300,000 per field over the next few years, requiring the reworked surfaces to be out of play for at least a year.
Another option was to purchase property off campus and put in two new fields.
“The two turf fields will give the majority of our students an opportunity to play on good fields,” said board member Jeanne Jensen at Wednesday’s meeting.
Rath on Monday praised the committee for getting behind the project.
The current fields, which support soccer, field hockey and football in the fall season, can become muddy quagmires after hard rains. This has led to transfers of games to opponents’ sites, and practices in the parking lots for varsity and junior varsity teams in the past.