BETHLEHEM Bethlehem taxpayers decided in favor of funding district-wide facilities upgrades at Tuesday's bond vote, but opted against paying for a turf athletic field.
With a total of 4,774 people taking part in the vote, the $20.2 million facilities proposition passed 2,676 to 2,098. The second proposition, which would have funded the installation of a $3.8 million turf athletic field, failed 3,103 to 1,671.
"We're very proud so many people came out to voice their opinion, because that's what we've been asking for throughout this process," said Bethlehem Central Superintendent Tom Douglas.
District officials began talking about bonding last August as a way to pay for needed facilities improvements, as the district was already a year behind its five-year maintenance plan due to lack of funds and staff cutbacks. Upgrades were suggested to fix the infrastructure of buildings, upgrade water and lighting fixtures, replace aging equipment and upgrade outdated technology systems.
Soon after, a group of parents who have children involved in BC sports approached the school board to see if improvements to the district's athletics facilities, especially the football field, could be included in the bond. The board later opted to keep some improvements in the main bond but to separate the field into its own proposition as to not endanger the main bond.
Proposition two would have allowed for the installation of a new, synthetic field, a regulation-size track, improvements to spectator seating and press box and a new score board. The project would have upgraded the field to allow it to be used for multiple sporting event in the fall and spring seasons.
"It's disappointing that proposition two didn't pass," said resident Scott Bonanno, a member of the group of booster parents pushing for the athletics upgrades. "I think it is really unfortunate for the kids and the community, because it would have been something the community could have used for decades to come. But at the end of the day, the field is still going to be re-worked and the drainage is still going to be dealt with."