Freeport Area plans $4M athletic complex
The Freeport Area School District plans to build a new athletic complex and move football games to the middle school/high school complex in Buffalo Township.
The estimated cost for a new field is about $4 million, according to options provided last month by VEBH Architects of Mt. Lebanon, the district's architect for the project.
The school board voted 6-0 on Wednesday, with three board members absent, to have VEBH further develop design options for a multi-use field in the township.
Board president Dan Lucovich said officials don't know when the stadium would be completed.
Field options for the middle/high school complex include putting a football/soccer field inside the existing high school track, building a stadium on the existing soccer field or constructing a field behind the middle school.
Board members said it wasn't an easy decision to make, but their choice reflects what they believe is best for students.
“I've been here for five years, and I really wanted to put the stadium down in Freeport,” said Dr. John Marty. “Now, we come to a decision about what is the best thing for our children of this school district, and that should be the answer because that's what we want.”
Board member Barbara Toy-Gaydos said spending money to renovate the current field doesn't make sense because the district leases the land from Freeport Borough.
“I love the tradition in Freeport, but we don't own that property,” she said. “And I will not put millions of dollars into a project on property that we do not own.”
Freeport Borough Treasurer Richard Hill said the district never gave the borough the courtesy of sitting down with council and discussing options.
Several Freeport residents have told the board that they would like football to remain in Freeport.
With the closing of the Kindergarten Center and junior high, both in the borough, residents say they feel like they're being cut off from the district.
Freeport resident Scott Speer said he feels like the board made its decision too quickly.
“I don't really see how a decision can be made to spend $4.5 million when you only got the proposals last month,” he said.
Board members stressed that Wednesday's vote was only to proceed with design options and that they haven't committed to spending a specific amount on the project.
Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or firstname.lastname@example.org.