Mt. View avoids ‘turf’ war

BY TOM FONTANA
Correspondent

Some Mt. View directors cried “foul” when they learned that work at the high school baseball field was done without their knowledge.

“It’s not his private ballfield!” fumed board president Thomas Stoddard, referring to varsity baseball coach Ernie Griffiths.

The issue surfaced at a board meeting Monday night, Aug. 25, when director Jason Casselbury questioned district maintenance supervisor Robert Taylor about four rolls of artificial turf spotted near the ballfield behind the high school.

Taylor explained that the artificial turf was obtained by Griffiths at no charge from the Scranton School District, which recently re-turfed the sports field at Memorial Stadium in Scranton. Taylor said Griffiths used the turf for improvements to the batting cage at Mt. View, and the labor for the work was donated.

“It would be nice if the board knew about that,” Stoddard remarked. “The board needs to be in the loop on these things.”

When high school principal Robert Presley was asked if he or athletic director Jan Price were aware of the turf work, Preslety said he was not.

“Rob, at least, should be informed about about these things,” commented director Christine Plonski-Sezer. Several board members nodded their heads in agreement.

Casselbury then questioned if Griffiths had been pursuing the possibility of switching the whole baseball field to artificial turf, and what advantages that would have for the athletic program.

“It would save time,” Taylor stated. “Our teams could get on the fields earlier in the season because with turf we’d be able to plow it off.”

No directors indicated any awareness of any meetings Griffiths might have had with turf contractors, but Casselbury suggested that Cabot Oil & Gas may have indicated to Griffiths that the company would donate $200,000 toward replacing the field with turf.

Taylor, who has been working with a contractor to solve water run-off problems on the baseball fields, said he didn’t know what the cost would be to switch to turf. “But I know you have to replace it every 10 years,” he said.

Director Jason Richmond assured the board that the rolls of turf and improvements to the batting cage had nothing to do with replacing the whole field with artificial turf.

Taylor also informed the board that a sidewalk between the two school buildings and improvements to the concrete pad outside the high school lobby are completed.

The board approved a revised math curriculum for grades K-6, as proposed by Karen Voigt, Director of Curriculum & Instruction.

“I just want to point out,” she commented, “the curriculum requires that by third grade, students should know multiplication products from memory without depending on the use of a calculator.”