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J-D turf could become a reality next summer

— A turf field, renovated track and new lighting could be ready to go in time for the beginning of the 2015 Jamesville-DeWitt fall sports season.

On June 16, the J-D Board of Education met to discuss its options for the project. In anticipation of a large community turnout, the meeting was moved from the district office to the school's large group room. Board President Samuel Young motioned with support to move the meeting's "hot topic," the turf project, from well down in the agenda to the top.

The Jamesville-Dewitt Community Grounds for Action Coalition (JDCGAC) has raised more than $800,000 over the last two years in funds for the project. Despite a huge effort and a huge dollar amount, the money is insufficient to fully fund all of the project’s phases. The $832,780 raised is enough to pay for a turf field, but not enough to cover the costs for lighting and a new track. The entire project is estimated to cost $1.4 million.

The board decided that the best option would be to put the decision in the hands of district voters as early as this November. Ultimately, the district would like to bond for the remainder of the necessary funds, and the project would call for no tax increase for residents.

However, the project discussion remains in its infancy despite years of effort. The JDCGAC had originally hoped to break ground this summer, but if all goes accordingly, summer 2015 is the earliest construction could start.

The project has yet to be bid or timelined and the issue of exactly how much state money is available needs to be determined. Board member Tom Taylor reminded everyone at the meeting that more than 700 New York state school districts are in the state money mix as well and a swift resolution is advantageous.

The next J-D School Board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. July 7.

Allie Wenner contributed to this story.

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