MOUNT HOLLY — A renovated stadium with lighting, a new track and an artificial turf field will be constructed at Rancocas Valley Regional High School.
On Tuesday, the R.V. school board approved a project not to exceed $5 million to install a rubberized six-lane track, multipurpose artificial turf field, concession stand, grandstand, lights and fencing at the stadium off Jacksonville Road.
Board member Richard Alaimo of Mount Holly voted against action to install lighting, but in favor of the rest of the project. Alaimo said he doesn’t feel lighting, and its $500,000 cost, is a necessary part of the project. He also expressed concern about the impact lighting, noise, and parking during night games will have on neighbors.
A presentation during a special meeting earlier this month gave the public a chance to learn about the plans and ask questions. Bill Edwards of Edwards Engineering Group of Somerville, Somerset County, showed renderings and summarized the plans developed in collaboration with Garrison Architects of Marlton.
The project will be funded with capital reserve monies. According to information on the district’s website, there is about $7.1 million in capital reserve. That money has accrued over the years and can be used only for capital projects such as facility upgrades.
Funding the project through capital reserve means voters will not be asked to approve a referendum and the board will not need to approve a budget increase, both of which would impact the tax rate.
“We’re not asking for any more dollars from anyone,” board president Jesse Adams Jr. of Lumberton said.
The impact of lighting on the neighborhood was the major concern raised by residents at the meeting earlier this month.
Edwards said “state-of-the-art” lighting aimed at containing most of the illumination on the field will be used.
Superintendent/principal Gerard Jellig has said it is not known how many night games the district would schedule, but that it may be about 15 each in the fall and spring. The board plans to consider a policy to deal with scheduling of night games. Plans are for the school’s football, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey teams to use the field. The field likely will be offered for use to youth teams as well.
A few residents of R.V. sending towns spoke out in favor of the project Tuesday.
“I think it’s overall a great project for the school as a whole,” said Betsy Zeng of Lumberton. “This is something that will bring us up to par with other districts.”