Thank you to all who attended the public forum about the pros and cons of natural and artificial turf on July 6. In addition to discussing field surfacing options for the proposed playing field (to be used primarily for football and soccer), other topics included color options for the track which will surround the field, scoreboard, press box, height of the fence, the number of track lanes, long/triple jump pits and a steeplechase area. See below for what will happen next. If you were not able to attend the forum, remember you can submit your questions/comments using this form.
This update also addresses the addition to M.C. Smith Intermediate School and the historic preservation of the building’s exterior appearance.
New track and athletic field surfacing
John Sharkey from Rhinebeck Architecture and Jeff Budrow from Weston and Sampson returned to Hudson on July 6th to answer questions that had been proposed at the June 6 presentation. Mr. Budrow reviewed the pros and cons of artificial versus natural turf fields, including the initial cost difference, maintenance cost difference, longevity and safety.
Here’s a brief summary of what was shared:
- Besides providing a uniform surface, artificial turf offers superior drainage capabilities and is therefore usable even after heavy rainfall.
- Though the initial installation of an artificial turf field is costlier than natural turf, the annual maintenance costs are significantly lower (see this cost comparison).
- However, artificial turf does have a fixed life span of about 12 years and would eventually need to be replaced.
If the Board of Education, which has the final say on Capital Project plans and expenditures, elects to install an artificial turf surface for the playing field, said Budrow, the primary point of consideration is the fill material (e.g., crumb rubber, organic mix, virgin plastic, cork). Fill materials such as virgin plastic, cork or an organic mix are alternatives to crumb rubber, though they are typically more expensive.
At this time, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is conducting a multi-agency study on possible health concerns related to the use of crumb rubber as fill material for artificial turf fields. Unfortunately, the EPA’s report will not be completed until later this year and the Board must make a decision on field surfacing in the coming weeks.
If the Board were to decide to install natural turf at this time, the property and drainage would not be appropriately prepared to install artificial turf in the future. However, if the Board decides to move forward with artificial turf, they can reserve their decision about the appropriate infill to use once the results of the EPA's study is released. The district could also decide to install natural turf in the future instead of replacing the artificial turf when the time comes for it to be replaced.
The presentation also covered safety and the concept of G-max, which refers to the shock absorbency on a turf field. Natural turf and artificial turf have similar G-max values.
There approximately 30 people in attendance at the meeting in the Hudson High Library. Some audience members expressed their desire to forego the more expensive blue track, which will fade, for the traditional red track. This decision, along with constructing a 4-foot chain link fence instead of a 6-foot fence, said Mr. Sharkey, would will reduce costs and allow the money to be appropriated toward other amenities, such as the additional two lanes to the proposed six-lane track, as well as an additional long jump and steeplechase area. Mr. Sharkey pointed out that the shorter fence height would ensure an unobstructed spectator view of the track and field.
Many parents, students, coaches and game officials who were present in the audience voiced the desire and need for an eight-lane track, steeplechase area and side-by-side long/triple jump pits. Track coaches and officials explained that with the additional lanes and event areas, the District would be able to host invitational meets, sectional meets and championship meets. The District could potentially generate income from these events, said a parent of a track athlete.
The Board plans to make a decision at their meeting on Monday, July 25, which is open to the public (see “Upcoming Events” below for details).
Historic preservation of M.C. Smith Intermediate School
A main topic of discussion regarding the proposed renovations and addition to Montgomery C. Smith Intermediate School (MCSIS) has concerned how to preserve been the historic building’s preservation of the building’s exterior appearance.
Built as a high school in 1937 as a project of the depression era’s Works Progress Administration, the building retains most of its original architectural heritage, including the distinctive silhouette as seen from Harry Howard Avenue. (A major addition in 1995 has been praised by many observers, including recent posts on Gossips of Rivertown.
Several scenarios were reviewed by the architects and district facilities committee, for the renovations and additions which are intended to make way for the arrival of Kindergarteners and first- and second-graders (to compensate for the closing of John L. Edwards school, approved by voters last February.) Sixth-graders, now at MCSIS, will be moving to the Junior High building at the district complex to the north of the M.C. Smith Intermediate School.
The District’s current preferred proposal, included a one-story addition, a smaller one story addition with a second floor addition over the existing technology wing, a stand-alone two story addition, and the option of placing the gym in the front or rear of the building.
To achieve optimum access into the existing building and better student use of services, the one story addition has become the preferred concept. The second story addition over the technology wing was determined to result in the isolation of some students, lost instruction time due to additional transition time, and it would require the construction of an additional stairway, ramp and elevator (to meet ADA requirements) which is much more costly to construct. More importantly, the New York State Education Department strongly encourages school districts to locate pre-k through first grade classrooms on the first floor.
In an effort to maintain the historic appearance of the existing building, the location of the addition has been set back from the front face of the original building. A connecting corridor from the addition to the main building will be detailed with as much transparency as possible so as not to obscure the existing details on the side of the building. Additionally, a sloped roof and gable end walls at the center of the addition will be used to emulate the architecture of the existing building. The new gymnasium has been located towards the back of addition so that the larger mass of mostly brick exterior wall can be screened by the smaller scale classroom addition. Placing the gym in the rear of the structure allows for a better flow of the indoor/outdoor physical education program.
The tentative scheduling for the overall project is as follows:
- Track & field
- Engineers are working to finalize the drawings and specifications by the end of October 2016 in order to submit to the NYS Education Department for review and approval (building permit).
- The NYSED review is expected to take 2-3 months and could be ready for bidding in February 2017.
- Construction is estimated to begin in the spring of 2017.
- Currently, the new track/field complex on the High School campus is anticipated to be complete in the fall of 2017.
- MCSIS construction
- The architects and engineers are expected to complete the drawings and specifications by November 2016 and submit to the state for review and approval.
- Due to the complexity of this project, the state’s current review time is approximately eight months.
- The project should be ready to put out to bid by April 2017, and construction would begin during the summer of 2017 and continue through the summer of 2018.
Ways to get involved
The architects, engineer and construction management team are available to meet on Mondays at 11 a.m. Any interested parties are welcome to attend by calling the District Office in advance at 518-828-4360, ext. 2101.
As always, you can comment on the Capital Project any time by using this form to submit questions or suggestions about what you read in the Capital Project Update eNewsletter, or about the project in general.
The Board of Education will meet on Monday, July 25, 2016 at 7 p.m. in the Hudson Junior High School Library. During this meeting, the Board is anticipated to reach a decision on athletic field surfacing.
Get more information about the project on the Capital Project webpage.
Ask a question / send a message
Hudson City School District Board of Education
Dr. Maria Lagana Suttmeier, Superintendent
Meghan Tice, District Communications