Synthetic field facts far different from letter

Synthetic field facts far different from letter

As residents go to the polls on Nov. 7 to vote on a $4.9 million bond for Scituate’s schools, it is important that they get the facts, and not some “other” version like those suggested by Mr. Alan Durand in last week’s letter to the editor.

He wrongly stated that $3.5 million is going to a synthetic field. In fact, the amount for the field is $1.6 million and while synthetic fields are warranted for 8 to 10 years, they generally last for 10 to 15 years. The cost for a replacement is approximately $350,000, but his assertion that the disposal of the crumb rubber at $600,000 is simply false.

The rubber pellets are not considered hazardous waste and can be disposed in the same manner you throw out your trash.

At a recent forum, a synthetic field vendor informed that 90 percent of the rubber pellets are actually gathered and reused! And while a grass field was considered, the lack of water to support it as well as maintenance costs of $55,000 a year compared to $2,500 a year for synthetic made more sense.

That is why other public schools like North Smithfield, Narragansett, Johnston and Newport have installed such fields. And rather than rely on magazine articles about their health and safety, I prefer to rely on public health agencies and authorities that have concluded that such fields are safe.

What continues to be unsafe are the current middle/high school’s fields that due to extensive use and lack of water that are hard, pockmarked, and unearthing glass, metal, and other unsafe material.

In addition, while I agree that books and computers are essential to learning, these normal expenses are not funded by bond proceeds but by annual operating budgets. To suggest that these items could be purchased through this bond is wrong and not sanctioned by the R.I. Department of Education.

What is certain is that RIDE will reimburse the town over $602,000 for these athletic projects which will most likely not be available to Scituate in the future due to the recent state report highlighting $2.2 billion that is needed for school infrastructure repairs. Lastly, while the field is a part of the bond, every school will receive funds to improve its infrastructure to the tune of $1.8 million supplemented by a $2.3 capital reserve fund over five years. The kids in the school system know what their schools need since they are there every day!

Nevertheless, so-called facts should never be exploited to defeat a bond that is sorely needed in our community.

Jeannine Vachon