The state of the Tonawanda City School District’s athletic fields – and who’s using them – was the main topic of discussion at Tuesday’s meeting of the School Board.
The board recently approved a series of policies on community use of the district’s new Clint Small Stadium at the Tonawanda High/Middle School complex, but Brad Halgash, director of physical education, said there are conflicts. As it stands now, any outside agency using the Tonawanda fields pays a fee, but Halgash noted that several neighboring districts allowed Tonawanda teams to use their facilities for free while the stadium was being built.
Now districts like Grand Island and North Tonawanda are remodeling their fields and are requesting use of Tonawanda’s facilities. The board seemed agreeable to making an exception in this situation.
“To aid other districts the way they aided us is just being a good neighbor,” said Board President Sharon Stuart.
However, a suggestion to allow Tonawanda students who participate in outside clubs, such as dance, to use district facilities for free was met with resistance. Stuart said area booster clubs and parent-teacher associations are among groups that are charged for facility use, and making exceptions for various scenarios was too complicated.
Tonawanda’s old Clint Small Stadium on Main Street was also discussed at Tuesday’s meeting. Although the new stadium opened last fall, Tonawanda is still using the old fields for team practice. Director of Facilities Paul Maziarz expects the field to be used for the fall season, and then closed for good. He recommended that the district spend less time for field upkeep during the summer months when it’s not in use.
Once the district closes the old Clint Small Stadium, the board hopes to put the property on the market for sale.