Differing opinions on track damage

| 09 Mar 2012 | 08:00

WEST MILFORD - The West Milford Board of Education voted unanimously to approve $8,450 for repairs to the all-weather track around the new turf field behind Macopin School. How did it become damaged? There are differing opinions. Some say from snow plowing, others from construction on the concession stand.

Trustee Marilyn Schultz questioned the item and how it was done.

“Who plows the track?” Schultz wanted to know.

“They didn’t plow the track, they plowed the new turf field in order so it could be used last year,” Trustee Jim Foody answered. “They had put piping on bottom of the cutting edge of the plow, but that didn’t seem to stop the damage from occurring.”

Schultz asked if it will happen again after the next snow storm. Business Administrator Barbara Francisco said no, that damage would not happen again.

“We told them that nobody can plow the field. They can’t plow the field,” she said.

Francisco said there were some areas of the track that already needed to be repaired from when the field was put in.

“That’s an expensive error, $8,450,” Schultz said.

But that explanation is different than the one from school board President Dave Richards.

“There was no damage to the turf field, and the whole thing was blown out of proportion,” said Richards by phone. “They moved the snow with a device that was suggested to them by the turf field manufacturer. The damage to the track has nothing to do at all with the turf field.”

Instead, Richards said the damage to the track occurred during construction on the concession stand done last year in order to bring it into compliance with Board of Health requirements.

“When they ran the water for the concession stand, some damage was done during that construction when they dug the water line,” he said. “It was either the water line or drainage, but it had something to do with the work done to the concession stand. They damaged part of the rubber at the track. That’s how the damage was done.”

When asked about the explanation given by both Foody and Francisco at the meeting, Richards said the use of the term “plowed” was misleading.

“When they used the word ‘plowed,’ we all thought they put a plow on there.”

Instead, he said the moving of the snow on the field was done with a manufacturer-recommended device that looks like a PVC pipe. He stressed that there was no damage done to the turf field and that this did not damage the track.

Since the explanation given at the meeting didn’t make sense to him, Richards said he spoke directly with interim Superintendent John Petrelli about it Tuesday night, who got the information from John Hinck, supervisor of operations in the district. Richards explained that at first they didn’t know exactly what the cause was but Petrelli said they were able to trace back the damage of the track to the concession stand construction. He didn’t say how they traced it.

Part of the expense with repairing the track comes from re-lining it. Since repairs were being done, Richards said it was recommended they re-line and re-letter it since the original lines and letters have faded over the years.

Copeland Coating Co., Inc. of Nassau, N.Y. is doing the repair work.