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Pa. school board to consider future of Trojan Stadium

July 20, 2005|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA.

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

The future of Trojan Stadium and the discussion of a possible new elementary school at the site of U.L. Gordy will be on the agenda for tonight's Chambersburg School Board meeting.

The board will consider whether to renovate Trojan Stadium and maintain it as the primary venue for high school sports or direct the Buildings and Grounds Committee to authorize the design of a new stadium at a new high school.

Board President Craig Musser said he believes the board will opt for renovating Trojan Stadium, where the grandstands have been closed since March because of safety concerns.

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"The land we are looking at for the high school will not be enough to have the stadium, the parking lots and all the practice fields" at one site, Musser said.

It is more important to have the practice fields at a new high school than the stadium, which will only be used for games and meets, he said.

Board member David Sciamanna said Tuesday his mind was not made up on the stadium issue, but "with the problem we're having finding land for the high school, the current stadium could be the best solution."

"We are facing the realities of past boards not buying land," Sciamanna said.

Musser said the price of land in the Chambersburg area is rising rapidly as it is being purchased for commercial and residential development, but a recommendation on a new high school site could come before the board in August.

The board last month approved a $504,000 contract to demolish the structurally unsound home stands and refurbish the visitor stands, replacing the wood seating with aluminum planks. The visitor stands will seat about 2,600 and the district is having portable stands for 1,200 installed at an additional cost of $100,350.

Those fixes are not the final solution for the stadium. Whether it is a renovated Trojan Stadium or a new stadium, the price tag will be several million dollars, Business Manager Rick Vensel said.

If, as Musser predicts, the board chooses to renovate the 50-year-old stadium, it will have new home stands, locker rooms, a concession area, a resurfaced track and possibly artificial turf.

The board also is scheduled to vote on a recommendation to transfer ownership of the West End Playground from the borough of Chambersburg to the district. Vensel said this will be a no-cost transfer of the land adjacent to the U.L. Gordy Elementary School.

The land would be combined with the 3-acre Gordy site for a $13.8 million school to serve the borough's West End with three classrooms for each grade, Vensel said.

As part of the deal, the district would continue to contribute financially to the borough for the salary and benefits of the borough recreation director and assistant director through 2012, while having use of Henninger Field, Memorial Park and other recreational facilities for athletic events.

The deal also requires the district to put in two lighted tennis courts, basketball courts and playground equipment at the new school for public use, Vensel said.

"I've voted against it. I always have," Sciamanna said of building at the Gordy site. "We're faced with the reality that enrollment is growing. I can't see building a school that will be full the day you open it."

Sciamanna said he favors building a larger school at another site.

Musser predicted the vote on the land transfer will be close.

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