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Shen football turf vote set for Dec. 11

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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: Shen football turf vote set for Dec. 11

Diary of a Mad Sportswriter

Stan Hudy is a sportswriter for The Saratogian and Community News. He covers high school and youth sports in the Saratoga County area as well as writing a weekly book review on sports books. He's not just a "stick and ball" sportswriter, he's willing to take on any sport as well as any subject.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Shen football turf vote set for Dec. 11

The Shenendehowa Board of Education voted 5-1 last night, Oct. 9, to put forth a referendum for a $3.5 million athletic project that would replace the current grass surface of Steuerwald Stadium with a FieldTurf surface, install a new 8-lane track, provide a permanent entrance with concession stand and restrooms along with adding bleachers at both the football site and the soccer site.

According to the board, the State Education Department will reimburse the district almost $1.78 million for the project, leaving the Clifton Park residents with a $1.72 million bond.

The cost increase for Clifton Park and Halfmoon home owners is expected to be four cents per $1,000 and for the average home assessed at $100,000 (if you can find one in Clifton Park that cheap, let me know), the price is a cool $8 a year for 16 years.
I'd be lying if I wasn't all for this project, not even from a sports standpoint, but from a Green point of view and not Shen Green.

The Shen school district is running out of grass. If they build one more building on that campus, it would qualify as a mall. This is about the environment as much as it is about sports.

A turf surface would open up all sports and gym classes to its use, compared to the current policy of never, ever, without exception, utilizing the surface except for varsity, junior varsity, and lower level football games. The two exceptions are the annual Powder Puff flag football game and the Plainsmen Jr. Football Senior Bowl.
Other than those two exceptions, just look at it for 10 months, water it and stay the heck off of it!

But there are numerous detractors.

When I wrote my story about the original proposal a reader wrote a letter to the editor adamant that the project was unnecessary, why did a high school need such a thing, were the New York Giants going to come to Clifton Park and practice on it?
Fast forward two weeks and we have another Clifton Park resident, I'm sure well read, that was confused as to why the NY Giants had to come to Clifton Park to practice on the new turf field?

And who says you can't believe everything you read?

Myself nor Glen Griffith every mentioned the NFL or the New York Giants in our stories about the project, but once again a mis-informed senior caught a glance at a spec of type and went to town.

This is the same community that flooded the Shenendehowa School District with more than 100 phone calls after an April Fool's Day column I wrote several years ago that included a two paragraph disclaimer at the top of the column.

Now I'm all for it, but the school district may not have done itself any favors with its timing.

The vote is scheduled for Dec. 11 that includes a public hearing 7 p.m. Nov. 27 regarding the project. According to sources, the board had no desire to put up the bond vote in May along with the annual school budget. One school of thought was that the nays would vote no across the board, another is that the turnout in May is greater and could lead to a no vote.

Readers would also be amused that while I wrote a story about the proposal, the board tabled any vote regarding the proposal back in September. A vote was held on Oct. 9, but in late September, the Shenendehowa District web site noted the project, the vote date and its additional seating capacity when addressing seating issues at football games....hhhmmmmmm....

For an administration and a superintendent that likes to have all his ducks in a row, the e-mail message may seem as making the vote a formality and the public hearing too close to the vote date.

The reason for the late date was the possibility that if postponed, the project may be pushed back to 2010.

With a school district that saw a pool project voted down twice before being approved and is currently over budget, been re-bid and a shovel not yet struck in the ground, this could be a tough one to sell to the Clifton Park residents.

The Plainsmen and their coach, Brent Steuerwald may have to live with another five years or so of three yards and a cloud of dust because FieldTurf may not be in their future.



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