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Irvington, Hastings Schools Mull Athletic Fields Renewal

The Irvington school district is considering renovations to its athletic fields. Photo Credit: Danny LoPriore
Athletic fields in the Irvington and Hastings school districts like this one at the Burke Estate in Hastings may get new surfaces if school districts approve bonds. Photo Credit: Danny LoPriore

RIVERTOWNS, N.Y. -- The Irvington and Hastings-on-Hudson school districts have engaged residents in discussions on facility improvements, including how best to renovate or reconstruct athletic fields in both districts.

Many Westchester school districts, including most recently in Tarrytown, have opted to use multi-million dollar all-weather, synthetic turf fields to replace grass fields. Similar size school districts at Tuckahoe and Bronxville have installed synthetic surfaces.

"We have so many schools and recreation teams playing on the field here that we needed (synthetic fields)," Tarrytown School District Athletic Director Chuck Scarpulla said. "We all like grass fields, but the weather makes it tough to keep them ready for use."

While Irvington's Board of Education works on proposals to renovate East Field on the middle and high school campus, Hastings residents voted down a proposed $8 million building and grounds bond proposal in October that included a new all-weather, artificial turf at Reynolds Field.

The Irvington Board of Education's planned meeting on Dec. 10 to discuss potential renovations to its fields was postponed because of inclement weather and has been rescheduled for Jan. 7. According to an announcement by Schools Superintendent Kristopher Harrison, the district invites residents to discuss several options for the fields.

"White no action will be taken, the informational meeting will lay the groundwork for critical decisions that will be made this winter regarding facility improvements," Harrison said.

The options being considered by the Irvington Board of Education include:

* Importing 2-feet of clean fill, topping the East Field, repair, seeding and repairing draining issues that lead to standing water and unplayable fields. This option would cost approximately $1.47 million.

* Excavate 1-foot of the field's surface, dispose of the fill off site, back fill excavations to the surface then cover the field with 1-foot of new fill and repair drainage. This plan would be the least expensive at $1 million.

* The third option would be to install an artificial top to the existing field and repair the drainage for a cost of $1.49 million.

The Hastings School Board proposed an $8.1 capital improvements plan with a $4 million synthetic turf field and new running track which was soundly defeated by 535 votes in September. The Board has held several meetings in the last two months floating proposals to renovate either the Reynolds Field facility or the nearby Burke Estate athletic fields.

In Hastings, many villagers are in favor or improvements to the athletic fields but were opposed to the installation of synthetic surfaces, which led to the "no" vote in October. School officials used a exit poll for input on new proposals and hope to have a new plan in place for a vote in January.

Hastings residents are being asked to choose between several options that include:

* Renovations and installation of a six-lane running track and new Reynolds Field surface using grass instead of synthetic turf, new tennis courts and playground an expansion of the fields at Upper Burke Estate at a cost of $4.1 million. With the addition of other facilities upgrades, the bond would be $8.4 million.

* Installation of a new 400-meter track and new grass playing surface at Reynolds Field ($2.9 million), expansion at Upper Burke Estate fields ($1.2 million) at $8.2 million with repairs and upgrades to three school buildings for a total  of $8.2 million.

* Relocate the Reynolds Field football field and build a regulation six-lane track at  the Lower Burke Estate, convert the Reynolds Field to a baseball field and field hockey complex and renovate existing areas at the Burke Estate for a total of $4.8 million. This plan would top out at $9.4 million with building repairs and renovations.

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