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Manasquan's $2.9M Field of Dreams

School Board looks at major upgrade to outdoor athletic facilities

Manasquan School District's athletic fields are in poor shape. In fact, they're among the worst in the entire Shore Conference of 46 high schools, officials said.

The baseball and softball fields have poor drainage and the football field by mid-season looks more like a sandbox than a grass field, according to school board member Thomas Bauer, the Buildings and Ground Committee chairman.

And Manasquan is the only high school in the conference without a regulation track, Bauer said. 

Not only do the facilities look bad, they're dangerous for the district's student athletes, Bauer said. 

"Something must be done," Bauer said during Tuesday's school board work session. 

Bauer presented three options to fellow board members, the administration and public on Tuesday — the most elaborate of which would cost roughly $2.9 million over three years. 

The first and cheapest option, however, would simply eliminate the cinder track surrounding the football field behind the high school (while keeping just a 100-yard straight-away portion), and reconstruct the existing field with natural grass.

That option would cost roughly $300,000, Bauer said. The district already has that money from previous fundraising efforts, he added. 

The second option would eliminate the track, keep the 100-yard straight-away, and convert the football field into synthetic grass, Bauer said. 

That would cost $650,000. The district would have to find an additional $350,000 through fundraising to pay for the project, Bauer said. 

The third, and by far most expensive, option belongs to the district's master plan.

The plan would be rolled out in four phases over three years and cost a total of $2.9 million.

Phase one would see the construction of brand new baseball and softball fields behind the Elementary School for both school teams to use, a new perimeter fencing (including a "blue monster" in left field of the baseball park), and the installation of conduits for lighting in the future. 

The phase could be finished by the fall of 2012 and cost $300,000 — money the district essentially already has, Bauer said. 

Phase two would see the removal of the High School football field bleachers, construction of a retaining wall in the buffer zone of the wetlands near Judah Creek as well as improvements to the stream corridor, and installation of ADA ramps to the existing public restrooms. The fields at the High School would remain. 

That portion would cost roughly $500,000, Bauer said. 

Phase three would add sports lighting to the ball fields at the Elementary School, eliminate the baseball field at the High School, and construct a regulationg 400-meter six-lane track in its place, and convert the football field into synthetic grass. 

That phase would cost roughly $1.5 million, Bauer said. 

The fourth and final phase would see the construction of new bleachers, a plaza, press box and concessions at the football field, at a cost of another $600,000, Bauer said. 

Each phase would only be started once funding was secured for each, Bauer said. 

"It's embarrassing to be last," Bauer said of the district's current facilities. 

The upgrade to state-of-the-art facilities, if all goes to plan, could be completed by spring of 2015, Bauer said. 

The upgrades would be paid for by community fundraising efforts, Bauer said. 

"Community involvement is key to getting this done," he said. 

The district is also looking at possibly selling a sliver of land with frontage on Sea Girt Avenue that could help pay for the project, officials said. 

Currently the High School's track team uses the roughly 1.5 acres for field events practice, Bauer said. 

CB June 20, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Question, how come this much effort is never put into anything regarding the arts in Manasquan? I propose that if the towns and school board are willing to push to raise nearly 3 million for sports in the schools then an equal amount should be raised for the arts program alone. You think our fields are outdated? How about comparing our theatre to Point Boro's and many others that put us to shame.
frank June 21, 2012 at 04:14 AM
How many people come to the school for the Arts program? Really?
KKathy June 21, 2012 at 12:25 PM
I went to M.H.S. and graduated in 1972 and the field almost looks the same. I think It's about time some improvements were made.
Carol Wilkins Kirkman June 25, 2012 at 04:31 AM
What if the Manasquan School Board decides to vote on the complete $2.9 Million Option plan presented at the last school board meeting on June 19, 2012 whereby accepting the phases of development from 2012-2014, and at that time not enough private donation money has been acquired, then it could very possibly go to Public Referendum? That Referendum would be voted upon solely by Manasquan resident taxpayers. The last time this type of Elite Athletic Complex was discussed and put forth to Public Referendum (September 2005), the intelligent taxpayers of Manasquan voted it down by a 2-1 margin. If indeed it was voted down again (as past history should tell the elitists something), then what would happen to the half built/refurbished fields? I have resided here in Manasquan since 1966 and I don't know of any extremely weathly people who live here, do you?
Penn Cross June 25, 2012 at 11:50 PM
There's plenty of wealthy people in Manasquan. Generous, wealthy people...well :( And I agree with you CB, Manasquan isn't overly concerned with their Arts program. Come to think of it, it wouldn't hurt if they paid as much attention to academics as they do football.
CB June 26, 2012 at 01:17 AM
I'm sorry I thought the school was about the kids learning and advancing themselves for their futures, not to attract people to come see teams play. Perhaps I was wrong.
CB June 26, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Precisely Penn, When I was in high school if we needed something for a production Mr. Weisert would pay out of his own pocket, on his own credit cards, in the hope he would get reimbursed. Unfortunately, that was nearly never the case.

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