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Changes Add $150K to GRHS Fields Project

Board agrees to widen athletic fields, bring in more soil for $152,000 despite objections of a few board members.

Work has barely begun to repair long-standing drainage issues and, but unanticipated costs are already emerging.

On Monday night, the school board in a 5-2 vote (with two members absent) signed off on change orders to add additional soil ($67,500) and to widen the lower soccer field ($85,263).

The request came from the athletic department, which wished to have both fields at 204 feet in width for uniformity purposes, Business Administrator Michael Rinderknecht said.

"We've just started and we have $152,763 in change orders," board member Terry Moore said in frustration, adding she recalled Rinderknecht previously stated change orders would be "minimal". Sheldon Hirschberg also voted against those two change order items.

In response to Moore's comments, Rinderknecht said his previous statements on change orders being "minimal" were related to the roofing project at Central School, not the drainage/improvement project to the athletic facility.

"I knew going into this high school athletic field drainage project there's many things that are variables out there and uncertainties, one of which is unsuitable soil," Rinderknecht said. "Clearly there are unknowns. For that reason we built in a $100,000 allocation to bring in suitable soil if necessary."

The project – now totaling $3,680,756 – includes drainage retention systems to prevent soggy fields, a turfing of the athletic fields, a re-grading of the track, a re-sodding of the baseball diamond, additional tennis courts, new bleachers and a press box, among other items.

Despite the change orders, the project .

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Elizabeth Cox June 12, 2012 at 11:45 AM
I can't wait for the field Project to be done. Now GR fields will be up to par with the rest of Bergen county. Our fields are the worst I have ever seen. I for one am grateful to see it finally get done !
Big Brother June 12, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Here come the cost overruns. We all knew that there would be some, but how can the spec be written, signed off by everybody, and then the athletic department realizes that they need to widen an area. One of the keys to a successful project/renovation, is to have the spec written as completely as possible. GR property taxes are HUGE, and all you see are fundraisers, whether for Boosters, GradBall, Cheerleaders, Boy Scouts, etc. Now, I am NOT against any organization trying to raise funds, in fact, we contribute to most, if not all, but as the saying in the '70s about the U.S. was "Love it, or Leave it"........ Projectors in the H.S. are broken and not getting fixed until next term, electricity in the NEW Science Wing blows. BOE and town management, step up and be heard. Btw, what T-Shirts are the H.S. kids wearing today? GRHS Class of 2012 Rules!
JAFO June 12, 2012 at 12:56 PM
The most important sentence in the entire article..."Despite the change orders, the project remains well under budget." I'm excited to see the end result of this project. The students of GR are very lucky.
Alfred Fredel June 12, 2012 at 01:11 PM
I think that it is nice that the field is getting a makeover. I also feel that with all of the financial issues that are challenging us today, perhaps the BOE should have focused on meeting the needs of the education and comfort of our students. We still do not have air conditioning in many of the classes in our schools, learning tools are in disrepair, and our old equipment needs to be replaced. This should have been a priority before improving the fields in my opinion.
Big Brother June 12, 2012 at 01:36 PM
The cushion for the renovation project is well over $1mm dollars. Last week, some H.S. students had to use photocopies of books because the school was short books. What gives?
About the town June 12, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Look ye to Ridgewood's situation (too late) and despair. Priorities have swung from the basics to sports, sports, sports, with millions and millions of dollars in maintenance and remediation to be needed forever. How did this happen?
Elizabeth Cox June 12, 2012 at 05:33 PM
totally agree!!!!
Elizabeth Cox June 12, 2012 at 05:36 PM
more & more children are playing sports- i for one want my child playing on a field that is safe- and GR fields are in complete disrepair- so not only are we risking our children we are asking other towns to risk theirs. i am always more at ease when my children are playing on a field anywhere else but gr.
John Hahn June 15, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Hey EB you have not seen too many fields then. It is great that those Heisman trophy candidates in GR will have very expensive world-class fields on which to have fun unless it rains of course. On a recent spring day GRHS PE classes went were allowed to play on the track because the grass was damp with dew. I was told the children might be injured. You can all thank on BOE member who rammed this project through. His fellow BOE members were too timid to VOTE NO. Spending $3.6 million on turf sports fields is a true waste. I wonder if projects like these are why I am seeing more & more FOR SALE signs. I wonder.
John Hahn June 15, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Why do the kids need AC? huh. Starting MAY 1 many classes are in show-a-movie mode. Ask your child each week how many subs they had. Our son sometimes has 3 subs. Where are these highly paid - highly prized teachers. The 180 day school calendar is a joke. Our son took 2 exams today. No teaching. How many 1/2 days do they have that are counted as full teaching days. How many in-service teachers days are there i.e. No classroom time? Having nice fields is OK. But I would love really well-educated HS graduates & not plastic turf. SPORTS RULES here in GLEN ROCK.
John Hahn June 15, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Who needs books when you have winning sports teams. Come-on Big Brother. Drink the kool-aid - Go PANTHERS GO.
John Hahn June 15, 2012 at 02:30 PM
It happens about the town because 6 people attend GR BOE meetings regularly. I was at the BOE meeting the night they voted for this project. Watch the GRTV tape and listen to the ambivalence of some of the members. It is not reflected in their votes. A certain member wanted this plan. A certain member pushed to get and 'shouted down' anyone who spoke against it. Now we have cost overruns. NO-ONE is paying attention because many of us are too busy trying to keep the family fed & the mortgage paid.
John Hahn June 15, 2012 at 02:38 PM
EB TURF is SAFER? Really. Our son had the pleasure of playing soccer over memorial day weekend on a magnificent grass field at Vassar College. It was superb. I am for good well drained - natural grass fields. I have heard of some HS athletes being seriously injured on artificial turf fields. Curious What do mean by complete disrepair? I know they did not drain well. But what else is wrong with the fields? Seriously, I would like to know. I like to learn how others assess fields. I will look for your answer, EB.
Alfred Fredel June 15, 2012 at 03:56 PM
John- My son's teacher sends emails and is rarely out. She is always in contact with me and my son has not had any " show a movie" days. When children are more comfortable, they perform at a higher level. I am sure that when the mercury is 80+, people in the workplace wil complain and will not be at their best. That is why the money should have been spent on air conditioning and repairing the infrastructure rather than providing the kids with a top notch athletic field in my opinion.
JAFO June 15, 2012 at 04:43 PM
John, Yes, beautifully manicured grass fields are a much better alternative to turf. However, show me a local field that fits that bill. I played college soccer and the few teams that had great natural pitches used them only for games (2x a week max). So to answer your question, turf fields are safer than what is available to our kids in this area, unless you're willing to close fields to practices and use them only for games. To answer your other question about assessing fields, I see plenty with rocks, sticks, broken glass, small ditches, large holes, uneven surfaces, ungraded fields, poor drainage leading to mud and soft spots, rock solid surfaces with no "give", etc. etc. And keep in mind, just because a field looks pretty from the sideline, doesn't mean it's a good field to play on. I encourage you to play soccer on most any field in the area on a regular basis and you'll quickly learn how crappy and dangerous they can be.
John Hahn June 15, 2012 at 04:58 PM
thanks. just one opinion. i appreciate your comments. Thanks for making me aware of how others view the fields.
John Hahn June 15, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Thanks Alfred for your thoughts. We get emails too. So what. Rarely out is not the same as NEVER out. When you work 182 days and get all the vacation days anyone would want is it so tough to show up every day? Our daughter had this top notch 30+yr teacher who took off the day before a holiday and the day after. She was burning up sick days. Her class did not get those days back. Those kids lost out because the so-called teaching professional was too selfish. AS for AC. you could be a lot of AC for 3.6 million. couldn't you? oh well time to fix up the house. Last child is done in 2014.

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