| by Rick Pezzullo |
Last October, voters in the Irvington School District approved a $4.6 million fields and facilities renovation referendum that included authorization to install artificial turf at Meszaros Field on the high school/middle school campus.
District officials anticipated after the vote that the organic product turf and resurfacing of the surrounding Oley Track would be completed by this fall, but unexpected lengthy delays in the approval process by the state Education Department have resulted in that work not scheduled to be finished until the beginning of the 2016 school year.
“The district fulfilled all of its obligations in a timely manner,” said Superintendent of Schools Kristopher Harrison, who noted the district submitted all the required paperwork to the state two days after the much debated October 7 vote.
Harrison said the district received approval letters from the Education Department on August 20, but since most of the projects would be disruptive to students and teachers, they cannot be performed until classes end in June.
East Field, which has been closed since September 2012 due to the discovery of non-native fill and will need two to three seasons for the new grass to settle, won’t be ready for use until the fall 2017 or spring 2018.
Harrison said he expected the Board of Education to seek bids for the projects in mid to late-winter but believes the $4.6 million will be sufficient.
“We remain optimistic the amount of money approved on October 7, 2014 will cover these expenses,” Harrison said.
The district was able this summer to complete a goal it has envisioned for decades,—moving administrative offices out of a modular building on the Dows Lane Elementary School property. Eleven district employees will now work in newly constructed office space within Dows Lane, a project that cost an estimated $360,000.
The upgrading of the HVAC system at Dows Lane and gym roof restoration and conversion from oil to gas boilers at Main Street School will take place next summer.