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Fields Plan: What Are the Projected Costs?

The superintendent says every possible part of athletic upgrades at the high schools is up for negotiation.

with whether are needed at Parsippany and Parsippany Hills high schools—and if so, what taxpayers can afford.

Right now, if the projections of all items the Parsippany is investigating are included, the cost would run in the neighborhood of $11.5 million.

That figure is considerably more than the $4.5 million projected for the defunct Fields of Dreams plan backed by Mayor James Barberio and youth sports groups earlier this year.

However, the superintendent told residents at a special BOE meeting last Wednesday that were all the items to be okayed, the plan was to create multipurpose athletic facilities that would serve the district and township for 25 years. If approved, construction would start in or after the new school year.

Seitz said, however, that the items presented are possibilities, and nothing is set in stone. He reminded residents that citizen input is vital to the process of deciding what items will be part of the plan the district wants to put before voters on a January 2013 referendum. 

So, what items are on the table for residents' consideration?

The following lists, covering both high schools, was prepared for the school board by Parette Somjen Architects.

ATHLETIC FIELD UPGRADE ITEMS ESTIMATED COST 6-Lane Track converted to 8 Lanes $1,338,260 Convert grass field to synthetic turf $1,584,149 ADA compliant parking stalls, wheelchair ramp $   132,781 ADA compliant home grandstands, press box upgrade $   645,462 ADA compliant visitor grandstands and ramps $   276,627 Concession upgrade, sanitary sewer construction $     73,767 Public restrooms, sanitary sewer extension * $   381,130 New fencing $   170,894 Modernized sports lighting $   479,486 Water cannon system $   416,784 Wireless sound system (press box) included above Locker room addition to concession stand/restrooms included above Emergency lighting included above TOTAL of preliminary PHHS cost estimates $5,499,340

ATHLETIC FIELD UPGRADE ITEMS ESTIMATED COST 6-Lane Track Converted to 8 Lanes $1,254,174 Convert grass field to synthetic turf $1,493,298 Replace visitor grandstands, make ADA compliant $   272,389 ADA compliant parking stalls, wheelchair ramp $   312,945 ADA compliant home grandstand, press box $   635,575 Concession upgrade, sanitary sewer construction
$    72,637 Public restrooms, sanitary sewer extension * $   375,292 Storm water management system (for drainage) included above New fencing $   168,276 Sports lighting upgrade $   496,354 Wetlands investigation included above Water cannon system $   429,770 Wireless sound system (press box) included above Locker rooms included above Emergency lighting included above TOTAL of preliminary PHS cost estimates $5,507,710

* Connection fees for sewer and water may apply and are not included in these projections

What do you think? Which items are must-haves? Which can the town do without? Let us know in comments.

patchitup1 August 08, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Thanks TJ for your input. I'm glad you agree that the same problems will occur when and if there are lights and state tournaments on yor road. I'm not saying Brooklawn drive falls are wrong,I just know others make this political and that's not what's best for all. The fields need fixing and the people need to be happy at the end of the day. But the 11.5 vs 4.5 is just not acceptable. That we agree on. Thanks for taking time to get in your facts.
Bob Crawford August 08, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Mr. Gragnani The School Superintendent is responsible for maintaining all facilities and for advising the BOE of where it should focus its attention. Each year during the budget preparation process the Administration led by the Superintendent provides a list of projects to the appropriate Board Committee with a recomendation as to which projects should receive priority attention and funding. So I would suggest that you ask Superintendent Seitz if he believed that he properly addressed the condition of the fields over the past six years. When I asked him about the condition of the fields, fences and tracks during the public session of a Board meeting earlier this year he refused to answer. Perhaps you will have better luck.
Natalie Davis (Editor) August 08, 2012 at 08:20 PM
As has been explained to me by several members of the school board, the district had issues with declining state aid to the extent that instructional cuts had to be made a few years ago. With tightening budgets, hard choices had to be made and the administration chose academics over athletics and grounds at the time. There was a shared services agreement in place through the end of 2010 that had the township taking care of basic maintenance, but I do not believe the town was or had any responsibility to be involved with capital projects and improvement efforts.
patchitup1 August 08, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Bob at one of the open council meetings the mayor said that you were in charge of fields at the schools when you were on the BOE. What year was he talking about and is that true? I can't seem to put 2 and 2 together here. You sound as if you are in favor of this project but for a lesser amount. If so what amount do you think is a good amount? I remember has was $1.10 three years ago then it was $4.45 now I would run to any station under $3 I hope that's not the case with this plan.
patchitup1 August 08, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Gas sorry
g August 08, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Do the figures show above show the cost of the synthetic turf to be installed when grass field is converted to synthetic turf?
patchitup1 August 08, 2012 at 08:37 PM
I just noticed that at the bottom of the list in SMALL print the sewer and water hook up is NOT in there. That Will be in the $100,000s of thousands at par Hill
Beth Bluj August 08, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Adam, if I may give my input. The parents of various organizations have been brining the conditions of not only the fields, but the schools in general, to the attention of this board and past boards for many, many years. When Marlene Wendolowski was the business admin she did implement a more rigorous maintenance detail. However, even then (about 10 years ago) the fields and schools were already in bad shape. So, the immediate things such as windows, roofs, boilers, etc were addressed before fields (and rightfully so). However, what BOE's of past and present have repeatedly done is let things get beyond repair. A little preventative maintenance goes a long way. So the short of it is, no one BOE past/present, or BOE member, is to blame; but, in my opinion, they are collectively at fault for allowing this to happen for so long. On a positive note, however, they always do maintain the integrity of the curriculum and what goes on inside the classroom. They just need to find a more productive way to balance the two. Education and athletics go hand in hand. The well rounded student is what colleges want seek.
Natalie Davis (Editor) August 08, 2012 at 08:47 PM
g, I believe the figure covers the expenses involved in converting a natural grass field to synthetic turf.
Beth Bluj August 08, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Bob - Can we please try to be productive and stop playing this game. We are all finally starting to agree on some things; let's use this new found momentum and finally get something done. Who cares who is to blame? That is all water under the bridge. We need to focus our collective energy on finally fixing the problem. We all know these fields were a mess long before 6 years ago.
Bob Crawford August 08, 2012 at 09:23 PM
patchitup Not for the first time since he was elected, Mayor Barberio lied when he said( at a Town Council meeting) that I was "in charge" of school fields when I was on the BOE. The Board operates under a democatic model with the underlying principle being that the majority rules and that each Board member has one vote. Consequently, five Board members are "in charge" and have to agree before issue moves forward. Also each Board member serves on 3 committees and chairs one committee which is advised by a member of the Administration who presents and prioritizes projects for the Committee to consider During my last years on the Board I chaired the Building and Grounds and Safety Committee. Mayor Barberio, in his ignorance, concluded that in that role I was "in charge" of the fields. When told that he was he was wrong, he simply continued to make that false accusation. Ignorance and deceit may be the hallmarks of his Mayoralty but they can not define the very important conversation the community must have regarding the proposals to remedy the problems that exist at the fields. Before I know if I am for or against this proposal I need to understand all of the numbers and the alternatives. So to answer your question, until I have all of the information I am undecided. My guess is that many voters share that opinion and it would be unfortunate if a good idea is defeated because of the failure of our elected representatives to trust us with the information we need
patchitup1 August 08, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Thank u for your answer
patchitup1 August 08, 2012 at 10:09 PM
So you were not in charge of fields and maintenance then. Thanks good to know. Others have also stated that so I wanted to be clear.
patchitup1 August 08, 2012 at 10:16 PM
I'm confused, I just read your resoonce again, it says" I chaired a comitee that was in charge of Buildings, Grounds and Safty" wouldn't that include the fields?
Hank Heller August 08, 2012 at 11:21 PM
John, Beth Bluj said it very well: "Can we please try to be productive and stop playing this game." We are not in a courtroom and if we get into your trying to tie down a "fact" so you or your buddies can use it in a few comments from now, we will be sidetraced and continue to waste our time and get nothing accomplished. Most of us do not know what the "right" decision is at this point but it won't get built if we do not get some good answers. And, this comment applies not just to John but to others on both sides of the field. The fact of the matter is that unless the problem of cleanliness has already been addressed (I dearly hope so), I won't trust the current administration to handle anything new. Whether we needed more funds or not, what has been allowed to happen to the fences, as an example, I think, is a administrative disgrace. And if Mr. Illic and others were honest in their comments at the last BOE meeting, if the girls and boys locker rooms are filthy and broken up at both high schools, this causes me to worry about further mispent funds if we build a new plant for the current administration to manage.
patchitup1 August 09, 2012 at 02:10 AM
Hank I was simply asking a question. This is not court but the facts are the facts. 1. The fields are in real bad shape and not safe 2 Mr Crawford called the mayor a liar 3 Mr Crawford was on the committee that was responsible for grounds, buildings & safety 4 There is a 4.5 million dollar vs 11.5 million dollar project put up before us tax payers Now, weather Mr Crawford likes the Mayor or not is not the issue here, it sounds like he had an opportunity to do something while he was a BOE member. But calling the Mayor a liar over and over is a bit much. There is enough blame to go round!
Hank Heller August 09, 2012 at 03:52 AM
John, You and I know that NO ONE on the BOE can get ANYTHING done without the majority group of Calabria, Mancuso, Neglia, Orme and, often Orthwein being willing to participate. And they are never willing to work with the minority. We have both seen that for many years. If you have not seen that you have not been paying attention. So to say that Crawford or anyone else is "in charge" of getting something done on the BOE, you know that is not true. Please see the next comment since there is not enough room here to finish my thought.
Hank Heller August 09, 2012 at 04:10 AM
#2 John, The one who is in charge of getting the fields taken care of is Dr. Seitz and his subordinates. He tells the BOE how he wants to spend money and the majority always goes along with him. So if he did not want to spend his precious budget money on the fields, or the fences or the stands, it did not get done. I still do not know what happened to the $5MM that Wendolowski claimed was left over from prior budgets. I have heard Seitz say that was a miscalculation and the money is needed for the capital budget overage protection fund, or something like that. The explanation was very complicated and didn't make sense to me when he made it and it still doesn't make sense to me.
Hank Heller August 09, 2012 at 04:15 AM
#3 John, Regarding Crawford and the Mayor, I think they each have taken cheap shots at each other. I was at BOE meetings and at Town Council meetings when each were patently unfair to each other. Most of the problem between Crawford and the Mayor really related, I think, to the fact that the FOD concept was almost a forgone conclusion until large numbers of citizens got out of their homes and started going to BOE and Town Council meetings. I was there and so were you when a strong proponent of the first plan reminded all of the people on the podium that they had already agreed to build the fields. Regarding your being in favor of the Field of Dreams being funded by Open Space Funds (and all that does along with that proposal, i.e., turning over 51% control of the school fields to the town to be used as they decide, possibly allowing the school fields to be used until late at night when we all know those fields are in residential areas) as opposed to the current proposal, I do not know what is right. But I do know that the Open Space Funds are also taxed funds that WE overpaid on as are the overpaid Sewer taxes that are sitting in a bucket and should be returned to the taxpayers If the answers are that in order to do the "right" thing Dr. Seitz will have to fire teachers, I submit that we have the wrong people leading us at the School Administration and at the BOE .
VietNam Vet August 09, 2012 at 04:47 AM
I don't know but maybe I'm crazy. When was the last time someone spent $ 132,781 and $ 312, 945 respectively to put in a few parking spaces and a wheelchair ramp. My sister-in-law had to put in a wheelchair ramp for her mother and it didn't cost anywhere near these figure here. Fencing at $ 170,894 and $ 168,276 to put up a fence or to repair a fence, I don't think it cost that much to put the fence up and down Rt 46 in town and we're going to spend a total of $ 339,170 to replace a couple of fences what has Seitz been smoking lately. If you think we are going to fall for this your are smoking some wacky tabacky pal. These figure are way out in left field someplace. I bet I can get estmates to do this at a hell of alot less, nowhere near $ 11.5 million dollars. Who is getting the rest of the money, Seitz again maybe?
Kevin Brancato August 09, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Hank and John How about making this discussion about the kids and what is the right move to make going forward and stop using this forum for your personal attacks on Seitz, Crawford the Mayor and Board members that you don't like. Instead how about putting your efforts toward coming up with a workable solution to something that everyone recognizes to be a problem that needs to be fixed. Stop trying to place blame and start talking about fixing the problem. Oh, and Hank I don't believe cleaning the showers will fix anything. Really!!
Adam Gragnani August 09, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Mr. Crawford: Thank you for advising me on who is responsible for the condition of the fields. It seems to me that there are so any people compaining about the condition of the fields that the School Board should have questioned this a LONG time ago. You mentioned that you questioned the superintendent concerning this at the last board meeting but he refused to answer you. Did any board member ask why he did not respond to you? And if not, why not? You are a tax paying citizen just like the rest of us, and you have a right to have an answer to your question.
Hank Heller August 09, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Mr. Brancato, If you do not think that ANY school administration's willingness and ability to keep boys and girls showers, bathrooms and locker rooms clean is an indication of their ability to manage, I guess we are on opposite ends of the spectrum. This is the simplest responsibility before them. Would you buy your kids a new car if they didn't take care of the old one? Additionally, my comments do not reflect a dislike for the people in charge. I just want them to do the best for the community they are all sworn to serve and not just themselves. That means, Mr. Brancato, the students, the taxpayers and all the citizens. Please reread Mrs. Bluj's recent comments. I am very respectful of her direction.
clyde donovan August 09, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Why doesn't the local school board figure out how the Parsippany High School football team could beat a team of little tots from the Fluffy Muffin Pre-school before you spend 11 million dollars on a professional-quality football stadium. The PHS footbal team had a 31-game losing streak until they got a win in 2010. I'm sure an expensive stadium will motivate them to beat the Fluffy Muffin team in the future.
clyde donovan August 09, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Bob, you know what the really sad thing is? It's that the voters of Parsippany are stupid enough to approve this insane bond issue.
Pete August 09, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Small-town politics at its smelliest. Keep the public in the dark, keep them wrangling among themselves, and you can do just about anything you like. But where is the money GOING, let alone coming from ? Who stands to profit from this plan ? And how is he/she "hooked-in" to the local system ? Inquiring minds, and all that...
Maurice Saunders August 09, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Paul Brown, If you can "get estimates to do this at a hell of alot less", do save us all and just do it. Can you have prior to the BOE August 23rd meeting?
Bob Crawford August 09, 2012 at 10:28 PM
On February 27, 2012, Mayor Barberio held a closed door meeting with selected members of the public to listen to their concerns and to provide them with cost data about the FOD proposal. At that meeting he provided the projected FOD costs that his Administration had identified which are listed below. Apparently there was some confusion regarding the projected costs of replacing the tracks and two different sets of numbers were provided for which the Mayor was reportedly unable to provide an explanation. I would call upon Mayor Barberio to join this online conversation and correct/update this data if any of it is wrong. Much of the conversation over the last couple of days has been about needing information that would help people understand why the FOD proposal and the BOE proposal are so different. Hopefully this information will allow us to begin to understand the cost differentials for work that is the same in both proposals and the cost for proposals that are unique to the BOE submission. Excavate & install turf - $1,200,000 million for each school Remove and replace track $210,000 for each school Remove old fence and install chain link fence around field $77,400 for each school Install sports lighting at PHHS field - $250,000 and at PHS $220,000 Build ( visitor side) retaining wall at PHS -$60,000 Install new running track at each school $248,000 Total expenditure for PHHS- $1,985,400 Total expenditure for PHS -$2,015,400 Grand Total $4.000.800
Scott Dean August 10, 2012 at 12:23 AM
I Happen to know many Bonded Contractors especially locally that are struggling in these economic times.Would it be worth getting estimates that I am sure would be much lower than these figures.So maybe we as a town can give back as easily as we take? Keep the money locally if we can?
Roman Hoshowsky August 14, 2012 at 11:28 AM
The numbers presented by the Board are highly inflated. This is just another scam to pad the budget.

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