Joseph Di Cara, a principal of Di Cara | Rubino Architects, provided an estimate of between $900,000 and $1,200,000 to replace the light poles at the athletic complex at Roselle Park High School (RPHS). The firm was hired by the Roselle Park Board Of Education (BOE) to conduct a facility analysis study of the school district – that will be detailed in a subsequent article – but Mr. Di Cara also gave a presentation on the possible replacement of the light poles.
First on-hand during the June 14th BOE meeting was Sam Chen from French & Parrello Associates (FPA), the company that conducted the study on the structural integrity of the light poles. He provided an overview of the study and its findings. By way of background, on April 3rd, a light pole at the high school athletic complex fell during a storm. Subsequently, the fields were closed for safety reasons and a study was conducted of all 24 poles. The findings recommended that three poles be taken down immediately and it also provided details on how to address the remaining 21 poles.
Mr. Di Cara followed the review, stating, “After the report was issued, we had our mechanical engineer look at the system as well as had Musco [Sports] Lighting review and try to look at a phased implementation for the replacement of the lights.”
He offered two alternatives. The first was to replace all existing poles over time. He stated, “If you did that, you would need approximate 25 new poles. Their estimate right now is $1.2 million to replace all those poles on a sequenced location.”
The second option was to was to remove all the light poles and create a new lighting system; one which would require less poles due to a more efficient configuration that would produce a greater intensity of lighting. This could reduce the number of poles from 25 to 17. Mr. Di Cara remarked, “That would be in the neighborhood of about $900,000.”
He continued by stating that the district would need to remove the poles on a priority list and then establish a master plan to determine how best to replace them. He added, “But that takes additional investigation.”
BOE member Sundjata Sekou asked for a clarification as to the discrepancy between the two estimates. Mr. Di Cara stated that it was mostly due to the number of poles between the two options – either 17 or 25.
In addition to the three poles that have already been taken down, another six (6) are also being discussed to be removed before the start of the school year.
The issue regarding the associated cost is that the budget for 2016-17 has already been voted on and approve by the BOE. If the decision is made to replace the poles, that cost will have to go to a vote in November. Even then, the poles would be replaced next year since the fall season sports would have already been scheduled by September, a full two months before November 8th vote. If such a vote were to be defeated, the fields might have to wait until the 2018-19 school year to be replaced if the cost is put on a ballot for a separate vote over the 2% cap.
A current option that is being considered is to rent lights for evening games or re-schedule games to be played on Saturday afternoons and/or during the day.
The next BOE meeting is tonight, June 28th, at 7 p.m. in the RPHS auditorium.
A copy of the study by French & Parrello Associates is available below: