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Uniontown Area School Board discusses new track, football field

| Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 6:22 p.m.

Uniontown Area School Board on Monday night discussed the possibility of advertising for bids for a new track and football field that could cost the district almost $1 million.

If the school board decides to replace the track, board member William Rittenhouse said it would cost the district about $60,000. If board members move ahead with plans to replace the football field, Rittenhouse estimated it could cost an additional $800,000.

Board members agreed to move ahead with plans to advertise for a new track.

“I think we should look into advertising for bids for a new football field at the same time,” board member Susan Clay said. “It doesn't make sense for us to replace the track and then have to turn around and replace the football field and possibly damage the track.”

When the football field was built, Rittenhouse said, school board members were told it would not need to be replaced for about 20 years.

“The football field only last about 15 years,” Rittenhouse said.

Rittenhouse, Tom George and Bill Gerke voted against seeking bids to replace the football field.

“We can't make a motion if it doesn't appear on the agenda,” Gerke said.

However, Solicitor Sam Davis said the board president controls the meeting and makes decisions on whether motions can be entertained.

The track is in such poor condition that WPIAL officials have prohibited the school district from hosting home track meets.

Instead, Uniontown students are forced to travel to neighboring school districts.

George said he is concerned about where the school district will come up with $860,000 to fund both a new track and a new football field.

Superintendent Charles Machesky said the school district has $1.2 million left over in its recent construction fund. He said the district also has more than a $5 million fund balance.

“I thought the school district had other pressing issues that we needed to prioritize,” George said. “I don't think we have the money for both a new track and a new football field right now.”

School board members are expected to discuss the issue at a work session scheduled for 5:30 p.m. April 7 at the senior high school.

Cindy Ekas is a contributing writer.

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