2 turf fields, new track are among N.J. district's $12M wish list

Gloucester County Times on January 29, 2016
By Rebecca Forand, Staff Writer

Kingsway turf fields
Kingsway Regional School District is asking voters to approve a $12 million referendum for improvements to its athletic complex.


WOOLWICH TWP. — An eight-lane track, two new turf fields, increased stadium seating and a practice area for the marching band are some of the improvements Kingsway Regional School District is asking voters to approve in a $12 million referendum next month.

The referendum — on which community members in Woolwich, Swedesboro, East Greenwich and South Harrison will be asked to vote on March 8 — aims to address issues with the seventh-through-12th grade district's athletic needs, according to Superintendent Jim Lavender, who says there are "two critical issues" driving the proposition.

The first is the school's track.

Currently the six-lane track that sits behind Kingsway High School cannot be used for any track and field events due to a peeling latex surface, causing a tripping hazard for student athletes. Students involved in track and field have had to travel for all of their matches for the past two years.

The referendum proposal asks for $3.25 million to construct a new eight-lane, polyurethane track, as well as a football field with synthetic turf, lighting and drainage in that area.

"Repair work is very expensive and not a cost effective play to address the problem at this point," Lavender said.

Secondly, the district says its bus maintenance garage is in need of a complete overhaul for its mechanics to properly repair and maintain its vehicles.

"They have a significantly important job for our operation," lavender said. "We don't have the modern equipment, the hydraulic lifts, etcetera."

While the district originally looked to buy land to build a new garage elsewhere or to rent or buy an existing building, the school board decided building a garage on its already existing campus is more feasible. However, this means that some of the existing athletic fields would be affected. Therefore, the proposal includes a new field being built in another location in campus.

These improvements all are included in the first question of the proposed referendum, which encompasses $9.98 million. A second question, which is for approximately $1.9 million would add a new track and field and band house and would expand the existing athletic field's house building.

If both questions are approved, the owner of an average-assessed East Greenwich would expect to pay an additional $91.92 in annual taxes to pay for it.

In Woolwich, the owner of a home assessed at the township average of $320,528 would pay an additional $97.29 a year. In South Harrison, where the average home is assessed at $379,087, taxes would increase by approximately $117.83 and the owner of an average home in Swedesboro ($205,468) would pay an additional $68.83.

More information on the bond referendum can be found on the school's website.


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