Northport tackles athletic upgrades

Northport tackles athletic upgrades

Turf fields, locker room upgrades and more discussed for schools

A man stands next to termite damage on the high school gym floor. Photo from Regina Pisicani

Northport athletes may see some improvements in fields and facilities throughout the district in the upcoming years.

The Northport-East Northport school district’s Athletic Facilities Citizens Advisory Committee gave a presentation to the board last Thursday, Dec. 10, highlighting the problems student-athletes face with the current conditions of locker rooms, fields and more, and gave a five-year comprehensive plan for upgrades.

Members of the committee toured all the schools in the district, and spoke with representatives from synthetic turf companies, members of buildings and grounds departments from multiple school districts and coaches to get input.

The recommendations were divided and spread out over a five-year span to offset the estimated cost of about $17 million. Trustee Regina Pisicani, who spearheaded the creation of this group, said deciding which projects came first was the most difficult part.

The current gym lockers at Northport Middle School are decaying. Photo from Regina Pisicani
The current gym lockers at Northport Middle School are decaying. Photo from Regina Pisicani

“We want it all and we want it all now,” Pisicani said at the meeting. “Because the facilities have been neglected for so long, it all needs to be done now, but we know that is not possible.”

Immediate projects include several upgrades to the Northport High School football field. Replacing the football field with synthetic turf using alternative fill, installing a new track, adding stadium lighting and replacing the sound system were suggested.

Committee member and Northport teacher Rocco Colucci said many members of the Northport community use the high school track.

“The high school track team uses it, the middle school uses it, but also the community uses it for Relay For Life and the [Northport} Running Club,” Colucci said. “This track gets used almost every day.”

Constructing an outdoor concession stand and permanent restrooms, as well as replacing the asphalt by the long jump and pole vault area at the high school were also suggested, as well as replacement of the tennis courts and fencing at Northport Middle School.

The committee expects the costs for first-year projects to range from $5.6 million to $5.9 million.

For the 2017-18 school year, projects include replacing the soccer field at the high school with synthetic turf and adding protective fencing, adding a natural grass field with irrigation for the junior varsity and varsity baseball fields, and a new backstop with increased overhand suspension at the junior varsity and varsity softball fields.

During the presentation, Pisicani said the stairway leading to the wrestling room should be painted and the ceiling and lighting at the wrestling room entrance needs to be replaced or repaired, too. Committee members thought these renovations should be tackled in the second year, as well as projects for Northport Middle School, including an all-weather track, new long jump pit, improvements to the softball and baseball fields, and replacing the ceiling and lighting in the gym.

At Bellerose Elementary School, new lighting and a ventilation system are suggested for the gym. The total projected cost for year-two projects is about $7 million.

The cost for year-three projects is significantly smaller with a projected budget of approximately $1.7 million. Recommendations focus on the ceiling and bathroom area of the girls’ and boys’ locker rooms at the high school, and air conditioning in the high school’s main gymnasium. Renovations for the Northport Middle School boy’ and girls’ locker rooms include new lockers, windows and bathrooms. The committee also suggested that the East Northport Middle School multipurpose field benefits from an irrigation system.

The approximate $340,000 year-four projects include renovations of the tennis and handball courts at both the high school and William J. Brosnan School, and irrigation to the main field at Pulaski Road Elementary School.

The final year of projects has a plan to redesign the entryway to the gym area for teams and spectators at the high school, installing an all-weather track and irrigation for a natural field at Brosnan school, and an irrigation system, driveway and path to the back field at Bellerose elementary. The anticipated cost is about $2.4 million.

Pisicani urged the board to take tours themselves to help see what state the facilities are really in. Members of the board thanked Pisicani and acknowledged that this overview was needed, but no immediate decisions were made.