Geneva School Board Defers Action on Burgess Field

Geneva School District 304 issues a press release saying that the funding from anonymous donors won't arrive until late fall or early spring.

Geneva School District 304 has issued a press release saying it will hold off on the proposed improvements to until funds arrive from a group of anonymous donors.

According to previous stories, an for the installation of synthetic turf and other improvements to the field. Other donors, most or all of them known to the district, had chipped in thousands of dollars, as well.

"As one might imagine, it takes time for any donor to garner the resources to fulfill that commitment, particularly in these economic times," Superintendent Kent Mutchler said in the release.

"The School District has recently been informed that the promised donation will not be received until late summer of 2011. Accordingly, the Board ofEducation has no choice but to defer action on Burgess Field renovations until the late fall of 2011 or early spring of 2012."

Supporters had hoped that the funds would arrive soon enough to begin installation of synthetic turf in time for the fall sports season.

"As the public knows, the School District has been investigating the need to improve the playing surface at Geneva High School's Burgess Field for several years," the press release says. "The maintenance of Burgess Field has clearly been a challenge. Many people have demonstrated their commitment to Geneva High School and Geneva athletics by contributing money toward the renovation of our athletic stadium. We are particularly grateful for the tireless efforts of the Friends of Burgess Field for their willingness to spearhead the fund-raising effort.

"On April 6, 2011, the Board of Education was informed that a group of anonymous donors had come forward with a pledge to provide the necessary funds to purchase a synthetic playing surface for Burgess Field, as much as $500,000, so long as the School District provided the funds required for its installation ...

"The Board of Education and Administration of Geneva Community Unit School District 304 will continue its pursuit of this project as quickly as the necessary funds to do so are garnered."

At Monday's Board of Education meeting, Mill Creek resident Larry Coates told board members they should repair the field's drainage system this summer, even if they have to put off installing artificial turf until spring. "The delay doesn't make sense. That field is going to get ripped to shreds again this fall. Is it safe for the kids?" he asked.

Board President Tim Moran assured Coates that district staff will do extra maintenance on the field to ensure student safety, just as the district has done the past several years. He also said that the district can't determine exactly how to repair the crown and the drains until officials know which artificial turf system they will install. "Burgess Field is not going to be worked on until all the decisions are made and the time is right," he asserted.


Information for this article comes from a School District 304 press release.

Bob McQuillan June 13, 2011 at 08:23 PM
This story doesn't pass the smell test. All previous stories mentioned "an" anonymous donor, now we hear of "a group of anonymous donors." The announced plan was to vote on the turf bid in April and start the renovation at the end of May. The April meeting passed and nothing was mentioned at all about the bid(s). Several weeks ago it was reported that there were issues with the bid. Now there is a problem with receiving the anonymous donation. When they announced the donation didn't the donor(s) know they couldn't come up with the money before late summer? There appears to be more to this story then the community is being told?
Rudy June 14, 2011 at 02:04 AM
I will gladly pay you on Tuesday! If you give me a hamburger today!
John Locke June 14, 2011 at 12:02 PM
Makes one wonder if the 'anonymous' donation might have a few strings attached. Hmmmm.
Jeff Ward June 14, 2011 at 08:10 PM
I overheard a conversation where D304 assumed, in this economy, they'd get a rock bottom bid on the project. That low bid did not materialize. Like a good poker player, we're I the district, I'd refuse all the bids and make 'em sweat. There ain't a lot of schools resurfacing football fields these days - they'll come down. The best strategy you can employ at a car dealership is a willingness to wait. Once you're halfway out the door and they bring you back in, it's your ballgame. Jeff


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