WARREN, NJ — August has seen a flurry of activity at Watchung Hills. Renovations are nearly complete and fall sports teams are in the throes of practice. At the last meeting of the Watchung Hills Regional High School Board of Education, the board discussed plans to renovate the school’s turf field.
Something needs to be done to the turf field. Between the WHRHS teams and youth sports that use the field, the turf has taken a beating and this could be the last year the school can use the field before it must be updated. Board member Peter Fallon said that the existing turf field has passed requirements to be used during this school year but probably won't pass next year.
The estimated cost is $750,000.
Board member Lisa DiMizio said, “I think it’s important for the board and the administration to reach out to all organizations that use this field and request donations,I’m not arguing that it shouldn’t be done, but let’s just look for some outside money to help.”
Board member Glenn Mastrobattista suggested soliciting sponsors and selling naming rights to the field. Mastrobattista said, “It’s happened in other districts and it’s a way to generate revenue without significantly impacting the school."
“Are we also losing access for our own students?” said board member Robert Morrison. “I think there really needs to be great care taken in finding the right balance so we don’t end up selling access to the field that then denies access for our own students.”
With regard to sponsorship and naming rights, Business Administrator Timothy Stys said, “If we’re going to have that discussion, if we’re going to have it in next year’s budget, then we probably want to have that conversation sooner rather than later because it does take time to set those kind of things up,” said Stys. “Budgeting for that takes time.”
The next meeting of the Watchung Hills Board of Education is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 7:30 p.m.