Lewisburg approves $4.04M athletic project

Feb. 8—LEWISBURG — The Lewisburg Area School Board voted on Thursday night to spend an estimated $4.04 million to install turf at its Pawling Athletic Complex field, resurface its track and construct tennis courts at the high school.

At Thursday night's public meeting, the school board members unanimously voted to approve two agreements with the Keystone Sports Construction Design Build Agreement at a total price of $4,046,039. Pawling Complex is located on North Fairground Road near the middle school.

Director Heather Haynos said it's important to note that the project has to deal with safety and access.

"We need to remember that not only are we upgrading athletic facilities that really need upgrading but we are making them safe for athletes in the case of falling, and we're making them safe and accessible for the public," said Haynos. "I feel really good about that."

The first motion approved the construction of six tennis courts, a parking lot, walkways, one-way egress, bus drop off, associated drainage, grading and site improvements, and electrical design for a future lighting project for the three high school athletic venues. The total cost of this project is $1,556,014.

The second motion approved the construction of one synthetic turf field, a six-lane running track, field events and associated drainage, grading and site improvements at the Pawling Complex. The total cost is $2,490,025.

Before the vote, Lewisburg coach Michael Espinosa said he spoke on behalf of several coaches by saying not having a turf field puts the district at a disadvantage. Other teams do not want to play on it and playoff games cannot be held on the field, meaning the district loses out financially, he said.

A grass field means animals are digging holes and grubs have made students slip. Having a track surface would reduce injuries and make teams more willing to play on the Lewisburg field, said Espinosa.

Board Vice President Cory Heath said he was initially "very hesitant" about spending the money.

"The number of students impacted by it both in school and extracurriculars I thought was particularly compelling," said Heath.

Director Kristin Kraus also noted that the projects improve access for people with disabilities as well as emergency service personnel for student athletes injured on the field.

Director Mary Ann Stanton said it is the district's responsibility to make sure all facilities are safe.