UCF Board opts to build new stadium entrance

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$35,000 project questioned in light of current financial environment

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times

The approximate location of the planned new entrance/ticket booth for the Unionville High School football stadium. Inset: the current entrance and ticket booth.

EAST MARLBOROUGH — A new ticket booth and entrance, which may be potentially funded by donors, will greet visitors to Unionville High School’s football stadium, as soon as the 2013 season. But not everyone agrees that the $35,000 expenditure is the best use of district funds.

The Unionville-Chadds Ford Board of Education voted 7-1, Tuesday night, to approve the new booth and entrance way, closer to the school building and the new gymnasium just now being completed at the high school. While those supporting the decision to build a new entrance cited the poor position of the current entrance, which empties into the middle of the adjacent parking lot, those in opposition suggested that it was an unneeded expansion in the current fiscal environment.

“I think is a ‘want,’ not a ‘need,’ “ said board member Holly Manzone, who voted against the proposal.

Board president Eileen Bushelow, who did vote for it, said she didn’t think that it was something the district should ultimately pay for, but that plans to use naming rights to pay for it were enough to get her support.

But residents, at least those very few at the meeting, expressed concerns that the ticket booth would not be paid for by outside groups, and that at the end of the day, district taxpayers would have to foot the bill.

“The ticket booth for the stadium was considered by a previous board during the stadium renovation project and rejected,” said Bruce Yelton of Pocopson. “This has no positive impact on education.”

He also argued that the promises of future payment for the ticket booth have to be questioned in light of previous history. Yelton claimed that the Unionville Sports Council has paid only $300,000 so far toward a promised $1 million to pay for the field renovations.

The motion to fund the $35,000 ticket booth and new stadium entrance passed by a 7-1 vote, with only Manzone voting no and board member Jeff Leiser not in attendance at the meeting.

In other news, the board formally adopted a new worksession/committee meeting schedule, starting in October. The committee meeting are being merged — except for personnel, which is not open to the public — into one evening, either immediately before the worksession, or as part of the worksession. Officials and board members say this should make it easier for more people to attend the meetings and participate.

The second Monday of the month, starting Oct. 15 schedule will look like this:

• 7-8 am: Personnel (not open to the public)

• 5-6:30 p.m.:  Curriculum and Educational Technology.

• 6:30-9:30 p.m.: Work Session, Communications, Finance, Facilities and Policy Committee work will be done during the work session. The temporary Revenue Enhancement Committee has been folded back into the Finance Committee.

All meetings will be held in the Administration Office main conference room.

Regular board meetings will continue to be on the third Monday, rotating around to various schools, starting at 7:30 p.m.

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Tags: board of education, stadium, ticket booth, Unionville High School, unionville-chadds ford
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20 Responses

  1. Now that we have saved $60,000 in transportatioin, we can now
    spend $35,000 for the athletic program

  2. I preicted that they would find a way to spend the savings. Why does the UCF board make prediction so easy?

  3. With all the issues that the district is facing financially, I find this very perplexing. The current gate, while not optimal, is adequate and serves the purpose. Regardless of who pays for it, I think there are many other ways in which the funds could be applied that would have a more significant impact. I would agree that this is a want, not a need and in this economy, why are we worrying about wants? Just makes one scratch their head.

    • Actually, the current gate is not “adequate” from a safety standpoint as mentioned by J. Taylor. Use Google maps and get an aerial view of the stadium entrance and you’ll find that, within a car length, the entrance funnels thousands of people into the center of a parking lot. Try attending a sports event and you’ll get a clear understanding of why the $35K is a good investment.
      .
      There has been mention in another post about “cuts in important educational programs”. Certainly, some programs have been curtailed. However, it’s not for lack of funding; it’s because of lack of student interest. For instance, a Mandarin course was introduced, but after the initial year, student interest dropped and the course was suspended. Ms. Hoover might be thinking of the Foreign Language in Elementary School (FLES) that was proposed, but never funded. The FLES program would have required a recurring $450K expenditure each year. One has to be careful when comparing capital investments, such as the $35K stadium entrance, with recurring expenses such as the $450K FLES program. Capital expenditures need to be amortized over the expected lifetime of the project. If the expected lifetime of the stadium entrance is 10 years, the yearly expenditure is $3.5K per year. The Board doesn’t take the expenditure of $35K lightly, but it is a stretch to suggest an educational program might be cut to fund the stadium entrance.
      .
      There has been mention in another post about “anti-union sentiment”, “not a dime for teachers and bus drivers”, and employee’s “buying power was reduced”. Each one of these assertions if false. We treat the union with respect, follow the rules set out by the PA Labor Relations Board and appreciate they will faithfully represent the interests of their members. Compensation for our employees is forecast to increase from $49M to $50.5M. This increase of $1.5M or 3% is sightly more than a dime and is in-line with any purchasing power index.

      • Mr. Knauss, I am at almost all home football games and many other events at the school. There are usually police or other vehicles in that area for football games. Rarely, if ever, have I seen cars buzzing through that area while people are going in an out of football games. They simply cannot get through. In the years that the gate has been there, how many incidents have occurred at this location where someone has gotten hurt because the booth is at its present location. I have not seen or heard of any. There is a much greater issue with lack of adequate parking to support the number of people going to games and people walking through an overcrowded parking lot after the games. Regardless of the location, there are going to be many people funneling into the parking lot. This is a much greater issue from a safety standpoint as I have been there and can attest to. And it is not at the gate that the issue exists. It is more walking back to the middle school. There is not adequate place to walk back to your car. In fact parking is always an issue at the schools during back to school night or any large event. Mr. Knauss, I do not agree with your argument. Do you attend all of these games? If so, you would see that the money is spent in the wrong place. And even if we are going to put up a new ticket booth, 35K seems over the top unless we plan on making it some overdone structure which is again a waste of money. A very simple booth is all that is necessary.

        • We’ll agree to disagree on the size, cost and appropriateness of the proposed stadium entrance and ticket booth. I appreciate your comments on the number of parking spaces.

  4. I supported Mr. Yelton’s remarks at the meeting that this money should not be spent. It is a mystery to me why Keith Knauss and Jeff Hellrung supported this ridiculous waste of money….which is only a first step in a long process of planned improvements…when they were so vocal in their “Efficient Education” days about the overbuilt school renovation. In a District where sports are king and there is enormous pressure to conform, Dr. Manzone did a bold thing when she sided with the taxpayers, students and parents who care about cuts in important educational programs. I’m betting that we will spend all this money and then not have a dime for teachers or bus drivers (largely out of our anti-union sentiment). We cannot expect teachers to go forever without an increase. Interesting how UCFSD seems to ALWAYS have the money for the things they want regardless of the needs or wants of the students or the votes of the parents and community at-large. If the Administration and/or Board want it, then we need it. They send the bill to us.

    • “We cannot expect the teachers to go on forever without an increase.”

      Actually, the teachers got an increase in their last contract.

      • I also got interest on my CD at the bank. My money is worth less than it was and I have to wait to redeem the CD. So, in the end, did I really get an increase on my money?

        • If you had invested in elsewhere perhaps it would have went up or it would have went down. What does retun on investment versus inflation have to do with compensation levels? Furthermore, since the structure of the salary matrix was unchanged (although the neutral mediator said is should be changed to slow the rate of advancement which would have favored the district taxpayers), and since the matrix itself was increased in amount, every teacher got increase for greater experience and/or for increases in education.

          • I was speaking figuratively. My point is that the teachers didn’t get much after a long fight. Their buying power was reduced and it was an ugly process. How can the school district continue to make an argument that there is no money when we spend 20K so the children won’t have to plot their own progress on the fitness equipment, when we have money for regal ticket booths and when we buy large parcels of land for sports fields and sunflowers?

  5. Are you kidding me???

    The 7 yes votes should step down from the Board!!

  6. I think that the WHOLE board should be replaced. We have an extensively renovated -new- high school at the tune of $63 million plus even though it was rejected twice by the voters – The Board found a loophole that allowed them to go ahead. They save about $85K, then vote to spend $35K on a ticket shack and gate. I wonder if they realize that educational expenses come first!!!!

    • AGREE!!!

    • I know all school board directors look alike, act alike and make poor decisions [smile], but I’d like to mention that none of the 7 directors that voted for the stadium entrance were on the board when the $63M high school project was approved. In fact, none of the current 9 directors were around for the HS vote. When I see my friend Dr. Langer next week I’m going to encourage him to place his name on the primary ballot next spring so we can get things right.

    • Doesn’t it make you wonder why with our auditorium and huge new gym, that we need to have our graduation at the Bob Carpenter Center? Isn’t it interesting that after 63 million and years of interest payments, are facilities are never adequate!

  7. It takes one accident to deplete any savings that ucfsd has. It is rare for Mr. knauss to agree on an expendexture such as this and even more rare for many to agree with him. I agree with keeping our children safe

    • This is a bogus issue ginned up to push the want and desire to a need that people won’t see through. People will always be walking through parking lots and there are always crowds. Perhaps we could dispense the tickets online and save the cost of the ticket booth which is really a pretty old fashion concept anyway. I once bought an entire house for 7K more than the ticket booth is going to cost. Dr. Manzone is as concerned as anybody about the safety and welfare of students as a Board Member and parent of a child in the District. If she thought that this were a waste of money and dared to go against the Board and Administration with a “no” vote, then I trust her judgment.

  8. One has to look at Board actions over the years – not only at the present one. Its a thankless job but more thought should be put into getting the maximum benefit for the minimum cost.
    We got a football team because of “boosters” who have passed on their zeal and the costs to the taxpayers. Why can’t they build the new booth and let the $85K go to education.

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