LETTER: It’s more than a football field

To the Editor:

There is plenty of chatter these days about the portion of the Rockford school referendum that funds a high school synthetic turf rather than a grass turf.

First of all, a new surface will be needed since the existing one, if the referendum passes, would be torn up to access damaged drain tile while rebuilding the track.

The current track is condemned by the insurance carrier and no longer is in use for practice or actual track meets. All meets are conducted at other school sites. It’s just more ammunition for people from neighboring districts to criticize ours.

Why synthetic vs. grass? Yes, it ultimately cost $600,000 more for synthetic ($900,000) vs grass. But grass requires two years of no play while being rebuilt, allows limited activity to prevent damage during rain or draught and more maintenance. But perhaps more important is the opportunity for intensive use by many school and community teams and organizations.

The reality is not only academic programs, but facilities and more opportunities for kids attract people to the school.

I have lived in the area for 25 years and watched my two sons successfully come through the Rockford district. The field is only a fraction (3%) of the bigger picture in this referendum. Even if you have some concerns over its benefits, don’t let it influence your decision to support the overall request. There is overwhelming need for repairs at all the facilities. After taking the tour I have realized they are in worse condition, much worse.

Paul Durand inherited these challenges. I feel he possesses the skills and talents to implement all aspects of a successful referendum. What impresses me the most about Mr. Durand is the ownership he takes in what he is responsible for.

We need to provide Paul Durand the resources to move forward and make the most of this opportunity. By voting YES you will provide a solid future for the Rockford School District. By voting no you are limiting the growth of our community and the future for our children’s education. By voting no it also affects the potential value of your property. Vote YES for our future.

Kevin Haugen