Published On: Thu, Oct 3rd, 2013

Exclusive: New Hope-Solebury School Board to hold special meeting Oct. 7, appears to back off night game ban

football lions

(Photo: Dennis Manoogian)

(Updated 6:50 p.m. to include Oct. 7 meeting agenda below)

The New Hope-Solebury School Board appeared to blink Thursday night.

According to an agenda issued Thursday evening, a proposal will be discussed and opened for discussion and possible vote under which “It is recommended that the Board of School Directors rescind the September 16, 2013 Board vote to turn off the lights at the current stadium field after the fall 2013/2014 sports season.”

A special public meeting of the New Hope-Solebury School Board to be be held on Monday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. at the NH-S High School theater regarding night games at stadium field had been confirmed by the NH-S superindent’s office Thursday morning.

The meeting is being held to address a growing community controversy first reported by the Free Press surrounding the New Hope-Solebury School Board’s approval of a surprise measure last month to ban nighttime games at stadium field after the fall season. The measure had neither been listed on the Sept. 16 meeting agenda nor advertised to the public.

The Oct. 7 agenda goes on to propose “that the Board of School Directors endorse the development of such an artificial turf, stadium field, at the field 13 location with the understanding that the costs of this project beyond architectural planning will be private funded.

“It is further recommended that the Board authorize the Administration to contract David Horn of Architerra Architects, at a cost not to exceed $14,460, to develop a plan for such a field, and a cost not to exceed $1,200 for reimbursable expenses,” the agenda goes on to say. “The plan will be inclusive of all necessary steps, infrastructure needs, regulatory and environmental analyses requirement procedures, and New Hope Borough permit requirement procedures as outlined in the Architerra proposal dated September 10, 2013.

“It is recommended that the Board of School Directors rescind the September 16, 2013 Board vote to turn off the lights at the current stadium field after the fall 2013/2014 sports season,” the agenda concludes.

The subject of New Hope-Solebury’s sports fields has been contentious in recent years, as the school district is under-served in terms of practice and event space, which in turn can exacerbate Title IX compliance issues that seek to provide equal access to facilities for boys and girls.

And several residents of the adjacent Riverstone Circle community have been very vocal on what they view as excessive light during night games, although those complaining to police also include residents and at least one business on West Bridge Street, Kiltie Drive and other nearby streets upset with sound levels, say law enforcement officials.

Canceling nighttime games would affect several sports teams at New Hope-Solebury because of the shortage of playing fields there and the necessity to reschedule numerous athletic events involving players, referees and athletic staff at other school districts.

Judy Finn, a local community activist who has organized a Facebook page to help overturn the School Board’s decision, said, “I’m thrilled and hopeful the board is doing their job in listening to the public, and look forward to hearing the rationale for their decision and to seeing the public formally present their opinions.”

(Update 6:30 p.m.)

Board of School Directors

NEW HOPE-SOLEBURY SCHOOL DISTRICT

180 West Bridge Street New Hope, Pennsylvania

SPECIAL BOARD MEETING AGENDA

October 7, 2013 7:00 PM – District Office Conference Room

I.    CALL TO ORDER

II.    PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

III.    ROLL CALL

IV.    OLD BUSINESS
Board Discussion

Public Discussion

Action Items Plant & Equipment

1.    It is recommended that the Board of School Directors approve the following Resolution regarding the endorsement of an artificial turf, stadium field at the Field 13 location and to contract with Architerra Architects as more specifically set forth in the Resolution:
V. Whereas, the school district’s current stadium field is the district’s only tier 1 field as designated by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), and the district has been diligently working with OCR to provide equitable use of that field as required by Title IX federal law; and
Whereas, the district’s 2010 campus master plan draft calls for an additional, artificial turf, stadium field to become the primary tier 1 stadium field and also designated field 13, near the UES, as the optimal campus location for lights and sound as well as an optimal solution to the shortage of athletic fields; and
Whereas significant community support has stepped forward to present clear intention to privately raise the funds for the new stadium field and voiced an initial commitment of over $360,000 to date with additional funds in the process of being confirmed,
Now, therefore, be it resolved:
It is recommended that the Board of School Directors endorse the development of such an artificial turf, stadium field, at the field 13 location with the understanding that the costs of this project beyond architectural planning will be private funded.
It is further recommended that the Board authorize the Administration to contract David Horn of Architerra Architects, at a cost not to exceed $14,460, to develop a plan for such a field, and a cost not to exceed $1,200 for reimbursable expenses. The plan will be inclusive of all necessary steps, infrastructure needs, regulatory and environmental analyses requirement procedures, and New Hope Borough permit requirement procedures as outlined in the Architerra proposal dated September 10, 2013.
It is recommended that the Board of School Directors rescind the September 16, 2013 Board vote to turn off the lights at the current stadium field after the fall 2013/2014 sports season.
ADJOURNMENT

 

 

About the Author

- “Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy." - Einstein

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>