By August Kissel and Julia Skeval
For the past five years, the Jamesville-DeWitt Community Grounds for Action Coalition has been fundraising tirelessly to raise the money needed to replace the grass football field with artificial turf. Numerous times, goals were set and deadlines passed with no success of reaching the minimum funding amount required to build a 225-foot field. However, finally, in December of 2013, the J-D School District Board of Education announced their acceptance of a $847,264 financial gift raised by the JDCGAC with the purpose of putting it towards the turf. According to www.syracuse.com, The total J-D project costs include $2.6 million for the 225-foot turf field and track, $400,000 for new stadium lights and $49,000 for the carpet.
On Oct. 28, 2014 members of the J-D community voted to go through with adding a new turf.
With the $2.6 million, the school will be installing an artifical turf field, which will be used for football and lacrosse teams as well as renovating the current outdoor track. To put such a large amount of money into perspective, $2.6 million could otherwise purchase 532 heating and air conditioning systems, redo all the bathrooms, or replace a major amount of the soon-to-be-outdated technology.
If not the turf, J-D students were asked where else they’d want to put the money with ideas ranging from updates inside the school to improvements concerning other sports teams.
“If it were up to me, when pairing Capital Projects with agendas of the school, I would choose education over athletics,” said senior Gabby Simiele. Many students agree with Simiele, and feel that by spending this amount of money on atheltics, the school district is ranking sports above academics. “We focus too heavily on sports,” added senior Elise Catania. These students tended to be more concerned with repairing bathrooms or upgrading technology. “Several classes are getting cut because of the budget,” said junior Ajay Monahar. “The money going into the turf could be used to reinstate these classes.”
“Many Smartboards are broken and within the next few years, our computers and software will be outdated,” Simiele said. She and Catania both feel improvements need to be made inside the building and with what students are using every day before the school turns its focus to the outside.
Students on sports teams not affected by this upgrade also voiced their opinion. “The football team is supplied their uniforms while the swim team must purchase their own suits which can be very expensive,” said junior Sophia Farchione. She added that uniforms should be provided to all teams and that the middle school’s pool should have work done before the football field; “(The pool) is really gross, I’d put $2.6 million into there before the turf.” Monahar plays on the Varsity Boys Soccer team, which doesn’t benefit at all from the renovations; “I don’t feel the turf is manadatory and the soccer team won’t even get to play on it.”
On the other hand, many students support the $2.6 million going towards updating the football field and outdoor track. These students bring up the importance of sports. “They build teamwork and character and teach us how to work together,” said freshman John Bridge. He said having a turf field will increase our teams’ performance which could better our sportsmanship during games. Sophomore Kyle Cappeletti and senior Xander Ferlenda agree with Bridge. Both are athletes who use the current football field and are anxious for its renovations. “We’re one of the only schools that doesn’t have (a turf field),” said Cappeletti. The turf is neccessary because “we are such a competitive school when it comes to sports,” added junior Chloe Hayward.