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Bids due for stadium project

| Thursday, May 26, 2005

Bids are due today for a $700,000 project to install artificial turf at Raider Stadium at Seneca Valley High School, a project the district hopes to fund by increasing event ticket prices and instituting a $5 student activity fee for every student.

The project was re-bid after the school board rejected two bids in the past four months because one was too costly and the other would not have been able to complete the project to the district's expectations, said district spokeswoman Linda Andreassi.

Athletic Director Greg Caprera said the current natural grass field on the schools secondary campus in Jackson Township is in "a healing stage" after use during the school year.

"The field starts to deteriorate toward the end of the year," Caprera said.

With artificial turf, the district would be able to double the sporting events held on the field, including physical education classes, Caprera said. Currently, there are about 65 to 70 sporting events held on the field a year, he said.

Seven bid packages were sent out to companies interested in the turf project, and are due today, Caprera said.

Although the district is accepting bids for the turf, the school board has not approved the project.

In addition to tentative plans to fund the project with increasing ticket prices and a $5 activity fee, additional funds could be available because a bid to replace the roof on Connoquenessing Valley and Rowan elementary schools was much lower than anticipated, Andreassi said.

"This should keep us from having to borrow for the installation," Andreassi said.

The $1 event ticket price increase proposed could raise $21,000 yearly, and the student activity fee would bring in $6,500, Andreassi said.

The project would also be funded by business sponsorships, which Andreassi said would produce $12,000 per year, and a rental fee for district facilities, which would produce $4,000 per year. She said $10,000 would also be put aside yearly from a $20,000 annual contract the district has with PepsiCo, Inc.

But these are all still ideas, and that "nothing is definite," Caprera said.

Caprera said money generated yearly from fundraising measures would be put into a capital improvement fund, which is expected to generate nearly $560,000 in 10 years.

Football coach Ron Butschle said that although some parents have expressed concern about the safety of their children on an artificial turf field, he feels technology today has made artificial turf just as safe as natural grass -- if not safer.

"The dust and mud and holes that come from the field we currently use is more of a health hazard as any artificial turf could be," Butschle said.

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