Warwick proposes new athletic facilities

By on February 6, 2019

Plans for a new field house at the Warwick School District campus have been under consideration for more than a decade. At the Feb. 5 committee of the whole meeting of the Warwick School Board, RLPS Architects gave the board a preliminary look at how that plan might look.

“This is not a plan that is intended to look cool,” said Warwick athletic director Ryan Landis. “This is a plan to make the field house and athletic fields safer and more organized.”

Craig Kimmel and Erin Hoffman of RLPS Architects walked the board through the plan, that would have a larger field house with restrooms, locker rooms, coaching areas, staff rooms, and concession stands to serve athletes from both the home team and visiting teams. The facility would also serve the crowds that attend athletic events, which include soccer, field hockey, track, and lacrosse.

“The largest crowds we would have would be for football, with 2,000 to 3,000 in attendance,” said Landis.

To accommodate large crowds and the athletes, the locker rooms would be expanded to provide more restrooms and other facilities. The bleachers would be redesigned so that the existing bleachers would be for visiting teams and the new bleachers would be used for the Warwick teams and fans. Depending on the size of the event, the bleachers would provide flexibility. For smaller events, portions of the restrooms might be closed off.

The field house plan would also provide additional parking to accommodate larger events, such as soccer tournaments and football games. While appearance is not the main purpose of the plan for a new field house, Hoffman presented an illustration of what the exterior of the field house might look like. She presented samples of brick materials that might be used, including a red toned textured material with black, grey, and cream colors. The entrance would feature large red panels with the Warwick School District emblem in the center.

The older track field is an issue that needs to be addressed. It would cost between $400,000 and $700,000 to repair the old track field. In the past it had been suggested that a parking lot be built in that location. That is a possibility that might be considered in the future.

RLPS Architects’ plans, explained to the Warwick School Board Tuesday by Erin Hoffman, include constructing a larger field house with restrooms, locker rooms, coaching areas, staff rooms, and concession stands to serve athletes from both the home team and visiting teams. The facility would also serve the crowds that attend athletic events, which include soccer, field hockey, track, and lacrosse.

In the meantime, the Warwick School Board asked RLPS Architects to look into pricing for the field house plan, which would allow the school district to host events more safely and efficiently, serving athletes and Warwick physical education students. In other business, Chief Financial Officer Nathan Wertsch provided a snapshot of the upcoming 2019-20 budget. He reported that the school district is in a “much better place” for the 2019-20 budget compared to last year.

There is an additional $20 million in assessed value, which equates to $331,000 in tax revenue. Internet earnings continue to rise in light of rate increases. Outside student placement is generating tuition income.

“It’s too early to tell on the basic and special education funding,” said Wertsch.

In regard to expenses, the largest increases are in salary and benefits. On the positive side, the 2018-19 medical and dental costs have leveled off and are currently lower than in prior years.
Wertsch will be keeping the school board updated on progress made toward the 2019-20 budget as the year progresses and a clearer picture emerges in factors affecting income and expenses.
Warwick School District Superintendent April Hershey reviewed a series of 10 revised school district policies. The policies will have their first reading at the next school board meeting on Feb. 19.
Three policies relate to Nondiscrimination/Discriminatory Harassment, including policies on School and Classroom Practices, Qualified Students with Disabilities, and Employment Practices. Other policies relate to Hazing and Bullying/Cyberbullying.

There are two revised Tobacco/Nicotine policies, which focus on vaping. According to Hershey, new methods of vaping include clothing, jewelry and devices that look like thumb drives that allow people to vape discreetly. The revised policies consider these methods in the guidelines that restrict tobacco and nicotine use. There are also revised policies relating to Procurement and Federal Programs for Use of School Facilities and Public Attendance at School Events.

Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer and regular contributor to The Record Express. She can be reached at lknowles21@gmail.com. 

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