Darien Athletic Foundation seeks to donate $187K for scoreboard
The Darien Athletic Foundation presented a contemplated gift of a new scoreboard, at a cost of $187,496, and a concession stand with bathrooms at the high school field to the Board of Education.
The proposed scoreboard would face south and be less visible to the neighbors whose property backs up to the high school fields and the old scoreboard will be relocated to another field on the school grounds, at the cost of the DAF.
Superintendent Stephen Falcone indicated that there is the potential to use the scoreboard for educational purposes, as well. Video equipment will be mounted to the top of the scoreboard and can potentially be used in video production classes.
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Board member Heather Shea wondered if the scoreboard was going to be significantly bigger and louder than the current scoreboard.
DAF member Peter Graham told Shea that the increase in size would not be significant and that the volume of the new scoreboard is similar to the one currently in place.
Shea was also concerned about the cost of maintenance for the future and what would happen if the DAF were no longer in place. Graham said the DAF intends to provide funds for maintenance of the boards.
The town and school attorneys are currently in discussion on how to accept the gift, chairman Elizabeth Hagerty-Ross said. The gift will most likely need to be approved by the Representative Town Meeting.
Discussion of the gifts will continue in two weeks.
Shea was concerned that neighbors didn't have adequate time to learn about the gift since school vacation was last week.
However, Morgan Whittier said that if neighbors truly felt they needed to speak for or against the sign, they could do so at a Planning and Zoning public hearing. Planning and Zoning will need to approve the proposals.
Shea had other questions about the upkeep of the scoreboard and if that responsibility should fall on the Board of Education
"Part of the proposal is that the Darien Athletic Foundation would buy the five-year maintenance policy," Graham said.
The proposed concession stand will take the place of the current scoreboard at the south end of the field and will be two small buildings connected with an entrance breezeway.
"The feelings of the donations committees is that bathrooms at the field is not extravagant," board member Susan Perticone said. The buildings will have bathrooms, a ticket booth and a place to sell concessions. The cost of the building will exceed $20,000, but it was not immediately clear how much it would cost.
The board discussed how they should accept the gift and whether it should be treated as the turf fields were (where they received the donated cash and installed the turf through the Board of Education), or if it should be accepted like the weight room was (where the equipment was donated and installed at no cost to the schools).
Discussion of the contemplated gifts will continue at the next Board of Education meeting. The board approved a motion to allow the DAF to move forward imagining approval for their proposed projects at their Tuesday, April 23, meeting.
The DAF was created with the intent to provide and increase the functionality of the athletics at the schools.
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