BOE approves DAF's $500,000 gift
The Darien Board of Education unanimously accepted the Darien Athletic Foundation's gift of a $500,000 concession building at the high school, but not before last-minute changes to the building could be made.
Assistant Superintendent Tim Canty, who worked with the athletic foundation regarding the building, told the Board of Education Tuesday that the organization was not going to immediately install a full-range kitchen as was anticipated. Instead, it would be considered in the future when the building is up and running.
"We have scaled back the proposal," Canty said. "We have decided we're going to slow down and ask the board to consider a more deliberate implementation phase where we will not include a full-scale kitchen as part of the initial phase."
The kitchen, if desired in the future, would be subject to town approval, as is the concession building.
"It would give us more time to talk about operational guidelines," Canty said.
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The foundation wanted to subcontract to a vendor for the primary hot foods -- such as hamburgers and french fries -- during home football games and other significant sporting events, such as lacrosse games.
Other groups, including the high school band, will maintain their ability to sell snacks during the games for fundraising purposes. The band's sale of snacks serves as one of its primary sources of funds, according to Board of Education Chairman Betsy Hagerty-Ross. There is a potential use for other youth groups with a possible rental fee structure, according to Canty.
The gift will move to the Board of Selectmen before making its way into the Representative Town Meeting for final acceptance before the DAF can begin erecting the building.
The DAF will be responsible for the construction. Once the building is completed, it will be turned over to the Board of Education for care, custody and control.
The concession stand is one part of the $7.5 million Sunny Day project that the foundation has been putting forward to the board. The organization recently purchased and installed a new $250,000 scoreboard at the high school stadium and plans to install artificial turf at five fields.
The Sunny Day plan was developed with input from former Superintendent Stephen Falcone; Lynch; Michael Sullivan, DHS athletic director; DHS field sports, such as football, baseball, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey varsity coaches; Jeremy Ginsberg, Planning and Zoning director; and heads of youth leagues.
All of the phases of the overall project will be presented to the town as gifts. The organization wants to endow funds to be used for future maintenance so that the town incurs no costs.
This is the second-largest fundraising campaign in Darien, the first being the one for the new library, which cost $28 million.
"We do feel this would be a wonderful addition to the events that routinely take place at the high school," Canty said.
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