Turf field issue draws crowd at CVU Board Meeting

By Rachel Carter

The CVU auditorium corridor bustled Thursday evening, Nov.14, as Chair David Rath, called to order the Board of School Directors. Student athletes, coaches, and parents filed into the music room in support of the turf field presentation, the leading agenda item.

Audience communications preceded presentations and concerned parent, Mary Roberts of Williston, spoke about reduced CVU driver education access and provided self-conducted research in comparison to other area schools. Rath commented that previous conversations have ensued and there will be review of driver education issues and policies in regards to birthdays and dates of permit issuing.

Chris Farrington of Shelburne and chair of the CVU turf field research committee presented a $2.6 million proposal to replace two aging natural fields with two synthetic turf fields, one with bleachers and lights. A collection of the athletic community worked with an sport facility, planning, and design firm called Gale Associates to produce a feasibility study of the CVU athletic fields. The report found the current fields fall short of meeting participation demands both in relation to the number of athletes to field ratio and in the ability to maintain and repair the current fields.

Jeannie Jensen offered the current cost to fix existing fields at $1.2 million. Farrington shared additional Gale Report findings on short term costs being made up over time with ease on existing fields in inclement weather and allowing for proper repairs. Turf fields and lights “extend game and practice times” and can “generate income from hosting more tournaments and increased income from concessions and night games,” Farrington explained.

Farrington outlined three budgeting options, all incorporating some level of bonds and fundraising. After considerable conversation over budget concerns and indentifying the appropriate language to move forward, the Board agreed to develop a formal committee to further research and explore turf field options at CVU.

A second presentation of the evening was given by the enthusiastic teachers of the Unified Arts Department. Both fine and practical arts representing music, theater, visual arts, family/consumer sciences, and design/technology were showcased at length and helped to demonstrate how instrumental these skills and offerings are to career, social, and analytical development of young people.

Alex Bulla, CVU Student Council representative to the Board, outlined successes at the high school including the recent production of “Grease” selling out all four shows and the goal to raise $5,000 for the Vermont Foodbank in conjunction with business gift matching.

Matters discussed included questions surrounding the specific role of the Board in approving new courses and curriculum changes and the policy committee agreed it will review curriculum policies to provide answers.

Action items resulted in Polly Malik volunteering to join newly forming CSSU food services committee.

Last year’s audit of the budget was complete and Bob Mason reported “there were no issues of significance” and an “overall good quality of finance personnel.”

A Bahamian short term exchange student program was approved to begin a potential longer term cultural exchange relationship.

A construction fund project for facility lighting engineering was approved. Joan Lenes made note to include the environmental club in the project.

October minutes were approved and the meeting was adjourned, noting the dates for upcoming budget meetings in November and December in lieu of the regular Board meeting.


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