Public hearing given on capital project proposal

DANSVILLE — A little more than 40 people met in the Dansville High School Library on June 12 — including members of the community, school board members and administrators — to hear, ask questions and comment on the district’s $8.225 million capital improvement project proposal on new physical education, athletic and recreational facilities behind the school campus.

“For me and for the folks on the facilities committee, this has been about kids and their future, it’s about community renewal, and it’s about pride,” district superintendent Paul Alioto said to open the hearing.

The new facilities would primarily be used as soccer, football, track and field and tennis during the school day for physical education, as well as for after school sports games and practice. The project would also include new gated access roads for the sports complex as well as new playground equipment for the primary and elementary schools.

“These fields were put in place in a floodplain,” Alioto said of the need for a new playing field. “They put topsoil in over construction debris and other poor quality material throughout the entire back area.”

He added that phys ed students often can't play outside even on nice days due to the grounds being often wet and muddy, and the construction issue has led to “the reputation of having the worst soccer field in Section V.”

In addition to the soccer fields, Alioto said that the tennis courts were built in the 1930s and are “dangerous beyond continued repair.” He said that the tennis team has to travel for practice and competition and do not have a home court. After having spent $120,000 on skim coating and resurfacing the track five years ago, it is now starting to crack and split. A new one should last about 20 years. Alioto said that artificial turf would be used for the new complex to save on mowing and watering costs.

In addition to the sports complex, the new playground would be handicapped accessible and would include sensory equipment for autistic children. The district is also proposing new Family And Consumer Science (FACS) rooms for the high school; plus new air conditioning for the Primary and EBH buildings.

Out of the $8.225 million cost, the state would fund $6.225 million, with the district chipping in $2 million from its reserves, resulting in no additional cost to the taxpayer. Some costs are not state-aidable, including the concession stand, scoreboard and seating for the sports complex. For those items, the district is hoping to find sponsors. Alioto said that it would cost about the same to build new seating as it would to transfer from Ralph Clements Field.

Speaking of Ralph Clements Field, for the time being, it would still be used, and a more specific plan for the field would be devised in the future. One possibility would be for new baseball and softball fields.

During the public comment portion, Alioto said that he hopes this project attracts many new people to the school district.

“It contributes to the overall economic development of Dansville ... and I hope this helps to accomplish that,” he said.

The public vote on the 2019 capital project is June 25 from noon until 8 p.m. in the high school gym foyer.