Athletic Field Community Forum
On April 19, 2017, a Community Forum was held in the WMS Auditorium to provide an update on proposed improvements to our athletic fields. Coordinating the forum on behalf of the district were Mr. Victor Karlsson, Director of Business, Ms. Michelle Gosh, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Assessment & Instruction, Mr. Dean Berardo, Director of Physical Education, Health & Athletics, and Mr. Andrew Bates, Director of Facilities. In addition, Mr. Matthew Gironda, Civil Engineer, from Insight Engineering, P.C. assisted in providing information on some of the more technical questions posed by the audience. Below is a summary of the questions and answers from that evening:
Q. How is the status of the athletic fields improvements related to the current Capital Project?
The fields improvements plan is a separate project which is not part of, nor funded by, the Capital Project but was planned to proceed concurrently with the Capital Project. However, because the Brewster CSD is located within the NYC watershed/DEP wetlands, the amount of land disturbance during construction is limited to two acres. Upon review, DEP concluded that the original plans for the Capital Project exceeded the limits of land disturbance. This required revisions of the original plans and original timeline in order to comply with DEP’s regulations. The total level of disturbance in the revised Capital Project is approximately 1.95 acres. Since the JFK & CVS building additions/renovations are the district’s first priority, improvements to the fields and certain parking lot paving had to be delayed and rescheduled for the future.
Q. Where will the new district-wide water main be installed?
The replacement of the district-wide water service had begun several years ago, with ancillary lines being replaced during the WMS renovation project. In order to complete the project, the water main, or “trunk”, must now be replaced. The current water main runs through the varsity baseball field and multi use grass field, and the replacement water main will also run along this path.
Q. Can renovations to the varsity baseball field coincide with the water main replacement, since the field is already being disturbed?
The plans approved by DEP only call for a 6-foot wide disturbance area along the path of the new water main. Any additional work beyond the 6-foot area would exceed DEP’s limit of land disturbance.
Q. Can field renovations be completed in small sections, restoring the land as work progresses?
Any additional work would exceed DEP’s limit of land disturbance. DEP has broad powers over properties in the NYC watershed including permitting, compliance and the ability to levy fines. The district, through its architects and engineers, has been openly working with DEP to make sure all of its activities are compliant and would not undertake any activity that would put the Capital Project in jeopardy.
Q. What constitutes land being considered “restored”, which would allow for the field renovations to begin?
Restored land is considered that which has vegetative growth (ie: mature grass), which typically takes 3-6 months to achieve after disruption. DEP is the agency which evaluates whether or not land has been restored. Neither the district nor its engineers can proclaim land as being restored.
Q. Is there a difference between routine field maintenance and field renovation?
Yes, maintenance is considered those activities which do not cause land disturbance, such as reseeding, grooming, and clay replacement. Field renovation involves mass earthwork (ie: re-grading and the installation of drainage), which is considered a land disturbance.
Q. What types of improvements can be performed at this time?
Cosmetic improvements can be performed at this time, which include the replacement of the backstop at the varsity baseball field, installation of dugout windows at the softball field to improve sightlines, and top-dressing and reseeding the multi-use field. All other renovations which involve land disturbance must wait until the completion of the Capital Project.
Q. Can temporary bleachers be installed at the softball field?
Yes, but it would not be a prudent use of funds to install temporary bleachers, which would ultimately be replaced by permanent bleachers within just two years. (Permanent bleachers require the installation of a concrete foundation, which impacts the level of land disturbance.)
Q. Why are JFK, CVS, WMS, & BHS considered the same campus?
Under DEP regulations, all buildings fall under a common plan of development rather than four separate properties. Collectively, the campus is limited to a land disturbance level of just two acres.
Q. What is the last phase of the Capital Project?
The last phase involves an expansion and resurfacing (paving) of the JFK parking lot. The expansion includes a larger front pick-up/drop-off area and vehicle turnaround circle near the turf field. Since the expansion of the lot includes land disturbance, the entirety of this work was delayed until the summer of 2018 in order to remain under DEP’s two acre limit.
Q. What is timeline for field improvements after the Capital Project is complete?
After the building additions at JFK and CVS are complete and the construction areas are restored, the district will approach DEP to consider proclaiming those areas as restored, allowing the paving work at JFK to proceed. If there is additional capacity available within the two acre limit, there is the potential for field renovations to begin in whole or in part during the summer of 2018. If there is no capacity, then the field renovations will be delayed until summer of 2019.
Q. What is the progress of the concession stand?
The building will be complete later this spring, with the exception of plumbing for the restrooms. The work associated with the replacement of the district-wide water main includes the installation of an ancillary line to service the concession stand. It is anticipated that the concession stand will be fully operational in advance of the 2017 fall sports season, as originally scheduled.
Q. Can the water main be relocated along the paved walkway between the baseball field and football field as alternative location?
Changing the approved plans at this point would likely cause a time delay and additional design fees. The current plan is the most cost-effective and already has the approval of the State Education Department, DEP, and Putnam County Health Department.
Q. Is is possible to make Garden Street School field accessible for practice?
We are using all unused areas on the current campus for practice and we are working with Southeast Recreation. We do have some flexibility and will work together to find alternative practice spaces.
Q. Are we considering installing a turf baseball field instead of grass?
No. Turf fields are very expensive and must eventually be replaced. Grass fields are most lush in the spring, which is the time of year they are used for baseball.
Q. What is the condition of the football turf field and what is its remaining life expectancy?
The turf field is groomed routinely and inspected annually by turf consultants, who estimate that the football turf field will last another 10 years from now.
Q. If the funding for the field improvements is not included in the current Capital Project bond, how is it being funded?
We have already secured a $40K New York State grant due to the advocacy of Senator Murphy, and the Brewster Sports Foundation has been actively fundraising for this purpose. The district will also utilize its operations and maintenance budget to fund the improvements, which can be spread-out over several years, if necessary. The district has no plans to go out to bond for this work.