The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

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January 27, 2014

FULL TEXT: Downtown Dragons response in high school debate

(Continued)

Misconception No. 9: “If 20 acres is sufficient for a new high school, why is LASD building on a 200-acre campus?”

Response: This is a valid question, not a misconception. We note that LASD’s own District-Wide Facility Study demonstrated placing a modern, state of the art high school on the current site and showed it to be both feasible and more economical (LASD Master Facilities Plan Update from Sept. 9, 2010, pg. 37 http://www.lasd.us/page/2561 ). We have already pointed out that additional outdoor athletics facilities could be interspersed throughout the community. (Jan. 22 column)

But let’s look at upkeep of the Newman site. Dr. DiRocco states that about 55 acres of the Newman property will be developed, yet the current site plan shows approximately 125 acres developed in formal landscape, grass, access roads, pathways, athletic fields, parking and stormwater management areas – all requiring some form of maintenance (mowing, snow removal, weed control, fertilizer, aeration, pest control and specialized turf-grass management).  The remainder of the site, slated as wetlands and natural areas, may be lower maintenance, but they are not maintenance free. Traditional school maintenance personnel would likely require additional training in the invasive plant control and forest management this land will require. 

Misconception No. 10: “Co-use is already working for venues such as football and tennis.”

Response: Here, Dr. DiRocco chose to focus on the fact that LASD pays fees for those arrangements. Our Jan. 22 column did not infer that co-use projects are free of charge to LASD. It’s common knowledge that LASD rents stadium use from Bucknell and courts from the Buffalo Valley Recreation Authority. This does not diminish our point regarding the advantages of co-use. We propose a continuation and expansion of partnerships to provide the greatest return on investment of limited resources. We suggest building athletics fields in partnership arrangements for best utilization by student athletes and the community. Obviously, these arrangements would not be free for LASD, which will need to contribute to construction and maintenance, but they would be far less expensive than building and maintaining independent facilities.

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