Monday, February 21, 2011

$1.7M on Ashley Field? We Don't THINK So!

You gotta give 'em credit. They keep coming back. Dave Stackhouse is challenging the Energizer Bunny for stick-to-it-iveness. If there was any hope of this folly moving forward, however, it should be abundantly clear by now that Uncle Scottie's 2011-13 Biennial Budget Plan should squash any further flights of fancy. Could we use better locker room area? Sure. We'll concede that one. But under the hack and slash style of our new Governor, the future of education in Sun Prairie --and every school district-- is in jeopardy.   Curriculum has to get 50 yard line seating; athletics gets relocated to the cheap seats. 
 But...just so everyone understands what was proposed....

Total estimated cost: $1,680,000 
Parking...............$ 80,000 
 (OK, so we just got done deconstructing 200 parking spots; now we want to add back in 60???!!!)
Artificial turf.......$823,000 
Locker rooms..........$370,000 
Move ticket booths ...$257,000 
 (Interesting...this is what it was labeled in the situation report, but actually, this cost is for adding 1,000 seats)

Site upgrades/misc....$150,000
-------------------------new ticket booths $40,0000 
-------------------------site paving $50,000 
-------------------------fencing $20,000 
-------------------------general site electrical $25,000 
-------------------------general site landscaping $15,000 

 Another lowball estimate?
The quote from Findorff (interesting...was this bid out?) tells it all, "This budget is conceptual..."  
Haven't we heard this too many times before?  The most recent example is the (now) need for an additional $70,000 worth of bleachers for Summit (baseball) field.  Fool us once, shame on you, but fool us twice....
Where are the costs NOT being mentioned?

Conspicuously absent is the ongoing cost of maintaining--and replacing--the 90,000 sq. ft. of artificial turf. What?  This stuff is so cool it maintains itself?  And never has to be replaced?  Estimates for annual maintenance are approximately $20,000 per year.  There are needs for seam repairs, replacing the "crumb" rubber (typically used), sweeping the field, brushing the field, locating and removing lost metal items (e.g., Chad Ochocinco's missing earring), re-painting lines (yes that still has to happen at least 1-2 times per year).
Replacement Costs
No, Virginia...artificial turf is not forever..  It must be replaced every 8-10 yrs.  One estimate (2005) suggests that replacement and disposal (not recyclable) of the old turf runs about $7.15 a square foot, for a total cost of about $650,000.  Spread over 10 years, that's $65,000 which needs to be budgeted.   Replacement costs only are at least $4 per square foot (meaning at least $360,000)  [].  But what do we do with the old stuff?  There are costs there....that nobody is discussing.
 Bond interest? 
 Assuming we would even have the desire to fund this venture, where are we coming up with $1.7M? Fund Balance? We would have to go to referendum, and even if that passed, there are bond origination charges, and interest as well.  We don't see that factored in.

 "Potential" Stormwater Management Area? 
What part of "climate change" isn't being understood? You think maybe there's a QUESTION about whether or not we'll have to deal with rainfall (and snowmelt) runoff? Natural grass at lease absorbs some water. This plan reduces over 90,000 square feet of potential infiltration. Or is this one of those, "Let's plan on NO COST for stormwater management and then a year from now go "Ooops, we made some miscalculations and we'll need another $200K for an approved stormwater management plan?". Of course, in the interest of business development, maybe Uncle Scottie will no longer require stormwater management plans!
Bottom Line
If there was any board interest in spending any money on Ashley field, Walker's budget plan has vaporized it.