UCF seeks public input on grounds & facilities plan

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By JP Phillips, Staff Writer, The Times

The Unionville-Chadds Ford School District is looking for public feedback on the long-term grounds proposal.

EAST MARLBOROUGH — This past spring, the Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board hired a consultant to recommend the best use of roads, parking areas, and athletic facilities located on the high school, middle school and Unionville Elementary campuses.  That presentation was the focus of residents’ comments during Monday’s school board meeting.

Several residents supported increasing the number of tennis courts.  An East Marlborough resident said that varsity tennis matches require at least 7 courts for them to be completed in a reasonable amount of time (the high school currently has 6).   After-school matches are difficult to complete before darkness falls.   Another resident added that football games are played in less time than matches due to the limited number of courts.  Because other teams are discouraged from traveling here due to this problem, the high school team plays more away games. The resulting early dismissals cause them to miss instructional time, potentially impacting academics.

Two residents spoke in favor of upgrading ball fields, again citing the current need for more away games as well as student safety concerns.  They stated that artificial turf fields are safer for students and provide a better gaming experience due to less rutting and slippery fields due to weather.

Another resident took the opposite view and did not think that the community needed or wanted to pay for any grounds updates.  She felt that residents generally were happy with the current traffic flow and athletic facilities, citing statistics from the consultant’s survey of residents.

Board President Jeff Hellrung assured the residents that much discussion and feedback will occur before any decisions are made.  He said that the Board appreciates the residents who came out tonight, and encourages more community input.  Next month, the consultants (K&S) will return with their final presentation that will outline some priorities and rough price estimates.  “We are going to adopt none, some or all of the recommendations depending on what seems to be wise and appropriate for our students and for our community.  It needs to be something that serves the needs of our students at a reasonable cost to our taxpayers.”

The Times reached out to the Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds James Whitesel for clarification on the process.  He advised that September’s meeting will include pricing estimates for each piece of the potential projects.  Feedback from Administration, Board Members, and the Public will be collected now through November, when a tentative long-term buildings and grounds proposal will be presented.  In December, after more feedback is evaluated, the Board will further discuss and generally decide which elements should be included in the long-term 10-year plan.

Hellrung stated that even after the long-term plan is approved, there is still time for changes.

“When we have our 10 year plan updated, it doesn’t happen except year by year with our annual budget process.”  He added, “Then we debate again in detail and see if our plans are still timely, whether or not they are still affordable.  And nothing happens without robust input from the community, the administration and the board.  Only then when we approve our (annual) budget will we take any steps in that plan.”

The Times reported on the K&S grounds master plan proposal presented during the June 11 work session presentation, found here.

In other news, The Board welcomed student representative Winter (Winnie) Elvin.  She will attend meetings to report on High School happenings as well as provide valuable feedback to board proposals from the student’s perspective.

HVAC plans for Hillendale and the bus depot were approved.  The Board also unanimously approved the menu of field trips (including the summer trip to Eastern Europe) for this coming year.

Next Up:  Curriculum and Instruction meeting at 4:30, and the Work Session at 7:30 on September 17th in room 14 at the District Office, adjacent to the High School.

They are both open to the public.  Additionally, they are broadcasted live (and archived) on the UCFSD web site.

Board documents:  http://www.boarddocs.com/pa/uncf/Board.nsf/public

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2 Comments

  1. Mike McGann says:

    Did you? If you had kids in the district, they cost about $18,000 a year to educate. If you had one kid, attending school for 13 years, that amounts to $234,000. Have you paid that in property taxes? If so, thank you. If not — or if you had more than one child attend school in UCFSD — like me, you’re way ahead. Additionally, your house is worth more that it would be if you were in an immediately neighboring school district. So — again, while I agree our method for funding public schools is idiotic (less than half should come from property taxes), few of us actually ever pay our share. I’m not trying to be mean, just trying to put things in perspective.

  2. Pj f says:

    Can spend all you want, only after the state lowers by school taxes as a senior. I have been paying for a long time and it needs to end! I paid my share

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