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Community-financed athletic field opens after 30 years of planning

November 13, 2013  - By

Cheered on by thousands of gathered students and families, Haldane Board of Education members, political leaders, and the design and construction team celebrated the opening of new Haldane Central School District’s (HCSD) athletic field in Cold Springs, N.Y.  HCSD and the local community have been talking about building a new field for nearly 30 years.  The multi-purpose facility was financed without any financial impact on the local taxpayers.

Leading the ceremonies, HCSD Superintendent Dr. Mark Villanti recognized the contributions of BBS Architects, Landscape Architects and Engineers Vice President Curt Coronato, who led the design team.

According to BBS Principal Architect, Roger P. Smith, AIA, LEED AP, “The new field will allow the district’s 875 students and athletic teams to practice in one convenient location for the first time in decades. The new design accommodates football, lacrosse, soccer, track and other sports. The facility will serve the entire local community and provide ADA access to all facilities.”

BBS Architects, Landscape Architects and Engineers served as the project’s architect and civil, mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineer.  The project team also included Applied Landscape Technologies (ALT), the general contractor and engineering consultant Maser Consulting.

Project background

In August 2011, in response to the local residents’ calls for more recreational opportunities, the Town of Philipstown, located in New York State’s Putnam County, retained BBS to develop an athletic field study for the local community.  BBS reviewed the existing fields, specific needs of the residents, possible locations and the estimated costs.

The study, completed in February 2012, recommended modernization and expansion of the athletic field of the local school district, located in the Village of Cold Spring.  The field was already in need of upgrades and the district and parents had sought to improve the insufficient and inconveniently spread out sports facilities for nearly 30 years.  The existing school football and lacrosse field was too small for soccer and its natural turf was in poor condition and difficult to maintain.

BBS suggested developing a larger new field on the school district’s grounds and providing access to all local residents.  This solution would accommodate the entire community, fulfill the needs of the school district, and avoid duplicating sports facilities in an area with limited available land and funds.

In May 2012, the Haldane Board of Education created the Ad-Hoc Fields Committee. The committee was given 60 days to evaluate the location and scope of the BBS-proposed project to determine its feasibility.

The committee was tasked with developing a plan that would be budget and tax neutral and not jeopardize the district’s financial position, as well as incorporate renovations of an auditorium and locker rooms at the adjacent school campus. The group was asked to engage all major stakeholders in the Haldane school community and coordinate with the Philipstown Town Board and the Village of Cold Spring.

Other considerations included the possibility of a phased timeline that would accommodate future developments, volunteerism opportunities during development and operations, soliciting preliminary cost estimates for both artificial and grass fields for comparison, and the “green” approach to a new concession building that would incorporate solar energy, waterless toilets, and other sustainable features.

On July 3, 2012 the committee presented a proposal for a $2-million project to the Board of Education. The vote was unanimous in favor of supporting what is now known as the PLAY Haldane project. Inclusion of the school interior upgrades and renovations in the program allowed the district to obtain 34 percent of the overall project cost funding from New York State.

Combining multiple sources of funding permitted the community to finance the project in a tax neutral manner. The district used $900,000 of capital project reserves, $680,000 in state aid, $525,000 in revenues from a land sale, a $300,000 endowment, and $200,000 from fundraising efforts by the PLAY Haldane Group.

Budget surplus will be added to fund a new future scoreboard, press box, concession stand and outdoor restrooms in the next phase of the project.


“The project included a new $1.45 million synthetic turf field with a multi-lane practice track, a 250-seat grandstand on a concrete pad, new fencing, a new electronic scoreboard, new ADA-compliant pedestrian access paths from NYS Rt. 9D, maintenance and emergency access roads from the school parking area, and $300,000 remodeled girls’ and boys’ locker rooms inside the school campus,” explained BBS Vice President and co-head of Site Planning and Design Group Curt T. Coronato, RLA, ASLA, CPSI. A different team designed the $100,000 upgrades to the auditorium, a part of the overall program.

“The new field will allow a continuous, year-long play without breaks for re-seeding. The field is lined for football, soccer and lacrosse, and includes a three-lane synthetic track around the perimeter. The new track provides a safe, level surface for the track team and other users within the community, an important improvement for the track athletes, who until recently practiced on a parking lot,” added Coronato.

The field is 360 feet long and 195 feet wide and the perimeter track extends an additional 10.5 feet beyond the field perimeter. Each of the track’s three lanes is 3.5 feet wide. The track and center logo were constructed of blue turf with gray and white stripes, Haldane’s colors.

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