SALISBURY TOWNSHIP SCHOOL BOARD
A need or a want? That was the question ringing around the room during the Salisbury Township School Board operations committee meeting Sept. 4.
A decision for new stadium lights at the high school was on the table at the meeting. The budget has been tight in regard to facilities and decisions need to be made on projects that may have greater consequences if ignored or not budgeted for.
The school district plans on borrowing somewhere around $3 million before the interest rates go up (they are presumably very low before the start of election season). All discussions were ended with no conclusions, as more information was needed for each issue.
Director of Facilities William Brackett began discussions with a presentation on the roof issue above the gym at Salisbury High School. Brackett said the gym roof is out of warranty and needs attention. He found the company, Tremco, who is willing to resurface the existing roof and then warranty their work for an additional 25 years. Their product would be placed on the existing roof at a cost of $390,000.
Brackett seemed extremely confident in Tremco and the product they deliver. He gathered evidence from his network in the Lehigh Valley and feels strongly that the product will hold strong and save money for the district. Brackett said by replacing the roof entirely, the cost of merely tearing the existing roof off would exceed the Tremco option.
Operations Chair George Gatanis questioned the warranty options available. Previously, it had been mentioned there was a 30-year and a 25-year warranty. Gatanis wanted to know the details of the 30-year warranty before the board made a decision. Brackett could not locate the details and the discussion was tabled for a later date.
Brackett next moved to the new stadium lights project. The replacement of the lights at the stadium have been met with mixed reactions. Several board members during this discussion spoke of their connections to coaches and players, who equally felt that, although the lights could be improved, there was no issue at the moment.
The option presented was for the company, Qualites, to install their own LED stadium lighting onto the existing poles at the high school. Qualites has installed LED stadium lighting for Cedar Crest College as Brackett spoke with a member of the athletic staff at Cedar Crest. The staff member claimed the lighting was wonderful and they are looking to expand the system.
The overall cost for Qualites LED lighting system comes to $250,000.
After hearing Brackett’s presentation, Gatanis said he “saw the lights as a want and not so much as a need for the school district.” Gatanis felt the budget could better serve more pressing matters and he has heard no real complaints from coaches.
Salisbury Township School District Chief Financial Officer Michael Taylor countered shortly by mentioning how borrowing money this coming year would be more advantageous than waiting for the next 10-15 years, as rates are at a perceivable low. It was said the district could end up saving more money in the long haul by making the decision now.
Brackett said with the Qualites LED lighting system, the district will be saving money on energy and will have the ability to immediately turn the lights on and off. The system possesses a dimming feature as well.
Gatanis showed that the energy saved would not correlate to money saved for the district and that this upgrade was just for a more advanced system. Several members of the board spoke up after this.
A few board members said Gatanis had a strong point, although others suggested they push this project forward while the interest rates are low. After a long discussion, the project was tabled to a future meeting.
The board did agree an allotted $250,000 should be put into the total bond amount borrowed to give the board a little time to make a decision. The board can wait until the date of pricing to reduce the maximum borrowed amount, by however much, if they decide not to proceed with the stadium lighting.
In other business, a member of the community that lives adjacent to the high school stadium voiced his concern over the Spotted Lanternfly infestation occurring on the school grounds and surrounding areas. Brackett has located two solutions, each connected to a tree Spotted Lanternflies are known to be attracted to.
Brackett said spraying the trees with unknown chemicals is never a good idea and may not provide any answer to the problem. The board decided against this rather quickly, with Brackett in agreement.
The option of cutting the trees down will be more difficult, as it calls for involvement with the township. There are certain stipulations for how many trees can be cut down in the township.