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Letter: High School Artificial Turf Field Project

On Oct. 3, 2008 the Farmingdale Observer published a letter I wrote regarding the high school artificial turf field project. A brief summarization of my letter is as follows:

 1. Wasting taxpayers money (via a special legislative grant from a legislator) by demolishing a perfectly good and functional natural grass field

2. Numerous health and safety concerns such as heat stress (surface temperature of 160 degrees), injury, infection, latex allergy and chemical exposure

3. Testing of artificial turf fields done by the University of Missouri, Penn State and Brigham Young

4. The current natural grass field being rarely used by school district teams (approximately eight times a year)

5. High school building infrastructure in crumbling

Over the past several weeks, under the Freedom of Information Law, I have requested information from the school district regarding this project. My requests focus on the financials of the project as well as the bidding process and contract awards for the general construction, architect and construction manager work scopes. The school district has disclosed some information but has been non-responsive in clarifying some of the information it sent. In this spirit of disclosure, I would encourage the school district to re-evaluate its position and provide the information requested.

In the Aug. 28, 2009 edition of the Farmingdale Observer I read a letter from a member of the community expressing outrage, not only because taxpayers’ money has been wasted in tearing up a perfectly good field, but in the manner that the school district responded to her concerns regarding dirt, noise and safety during construction. In the letter, $1,400,000 is mentioned. I was told the project cost $800,000. Is it $1,400,000 or $800,000? In the spirit of saving taxpayer money as well as the overall health and safety for everyone in the community, it was a huge mistake that the school district ever approved this project.

 Edward A. Cullen