UCF board previews draft proposal for new fields, renovations

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By JP Phillips, Staff Writer, The Times

The new draft proposal for fields at the Unionville High School/Patton Middle School campus. They would include a new tennis complex, additional parking and new multiuse turf fields.

EAST MARLBOROUGH — K&W Engineers and Consultants was contracted by the Unionville Chadds-Ford School District to examine traffic flow, parking, and ground use at the Middle, High School, and Unionville Elementary.  At Monday’s work session, K&W representative Marc Singley presented their vision for the Board and public’s consideration and feedback.

Based on observations, data analysis, and feedback from residents, the main priorities were established: improve traffic circulation, add parking, and renovate/add athletic fields.

To address the traffic flow problem, Singley suggests adding a road in between the Middle and High school (called a “central spine”).  This would alleviate the current—and potentially dangerous– situation where drivers in the back lot must navigate through the side lot to exit the campus.

Additionally, the existing two lots in between the Middle and High school would be reconfigured and a third lot added.

Singley showed an analysis of the current fields and suggested both renovations for existing ballfields and adding new ones.

Due to extensive use of the district’s 20 fields (mostly by local sports groups), 75% of them are considered overused and thus require more maintenance to keep them functional.  Singley said that grass fields should be used no more than 50-60 times per year, while synthetic turf fields have no limits.

Singley suggests developing the area on Doe Run Road between the traffic circle and bus depot to include an eight-court tennis area, two hockey fields, and a synthetic turf quad (two full fields) that could be used for lacrosse, rugby and soccer.  There would also be additional parking and a fieldhouse for restrooms, storage, and concessions.  Plantings are recommended to buffer the fields from Doe Run Road and the residences on the other side of the street.

What was missing was a price tag for the recommendations.  When pressed by board member John Murphy for a “ballpark” figure, Singley was not at all confident but thought Murphy’s estimate of $10 million might be close.

Recommendations to the Unionville Elementary campus include reconfiguring the front parking lot for both cars and buses.  Singley also suggests building a system of trails to the left of and behind the school for use by both students and residents.  This would allow the existing pond to be more accessible and allow other community recreational and educational opportunities.

According to the district’s Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds Rick Hostetler, most of these projects would be self-standing and not contingent on any other project getting approved.  Except for the central spine and the moving of the tennis courts to accommodate that road, the Board could decide individually what makes sense for the District and taxpayers.  Items that are approved would be worked into a ten-year plan.

Next steps include collecting feedback on the plan and returning in August with cost estimates.  Community members can submit feedback via either phone or email to Hostetler.  To view the K&W Master Plan presentation and detailed drawings, click here.

In other news, Supervisor of Athletics Pat Crater touted the success of the sports teams this year, including three PIAA State Championships (Golf, Boys Tennis, and Girls Lacrosse) and two Coaches of the Year (Pat Clark–Football, and Joe Ratasiewicz–Soccer).

Next week’s board meeting will include votes on the budget, increasing the High School’s administrative staff by adding a Dean of Students, and approving the student handbook (to which board member Gregg Lindner suggested edits to be discussed prior to voting).

Next up: Board Meeting June 18th at 7:30 in room 14 adjacent to the high school.

All board meetings are open to the public.  They are broadcast live (and archived) on the UCFSD web site.

Board documents related to the work session:  http://www.boarddocs.com/pa/uncf/Board.nsf/public

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