Saturday, November 29, 2008

New Poll on GASD Football Stadium

In a poll run earlier this year we asked the respondents to vote on doing nothing, rebuilding current Warrior Stadium, or building the new mega stadium the good folks at the Gettysburg Area School District Board have in mind for us. The response was clear: only 15% favored the enormously expensive new stadium. Now we have put up a new poll with another alternative: build a less ambitious, far less costly stadium at the high school, closer to the building itself and its locker rooms, and build it with an eye on expansion at a later date. In fact, why not ask the Penn State people who designed Nittany Stadium to design a less ambitious version for Gettysburg? They add to it every few years increasing their capacity 3-5,000 each time. They now vie with the Universities of Michigan, and Tennessee, and the Rose Bowl for top capacity in the nation.

Building closer to the school would eliminate the major threat to the wetlands on the school campus. It would also shorten the trip for those players at halftime. But that is not what the "Gang of Five" have in mind for us.

In a shell game the likes of which have been outlawed for years, they first decided to raise the money privately, and as they did so, their wish list grew bigger and bigger. So the prime movers ran for the school board and got elected, without saying they were going to change the game and force your already far-too-high taxes up even higher. The "Gang of Five", comprised of Pat Symmes, Andi Hoffman, Sally Michael, Todd Orner, and Dale Biesecker, did just that anyway, ignoring signs pointing to the economic slowdown many months before it arrived: development is almost at a standstill in Adams County and has been for much of the year; the Elks Club went bankrupt [for gosh sakes, the Elks Club!]; the Country Club went bankrupt; and gas prices got razor close to $4.00/gal at the pump. While this was happening, most municipalities were socking it to their constituents by installing enormous raises to their tax rates.

With all that staring them in the face, the "Gang of Five" went blindly and blithely ahead with their ever expanding plan to build a stadium bigger and better than the one at Gettysburg College, which they have been invited to share!

It is time for the "Gang of Five" and their supporters to get a dose of reality. Times change, and with changing times, priorities need to change. In this case, less is more. Less stadium is more preferred. No, that does not mean a $5 million stadium. It means, perhaps, put in a nice field, a track, and some stands, plus a concession stand and some public bathrooms next to the high school. Or, it means replacing the old bleachers at Warrior Stadium with new concrete and steel based structures and capping the home side with a press box and a coaches box, and the visitors with a coaches box. Construct public restrooms and locker rooms under both sides of the field, or at the ends of the field. That would not be cheap. But it wouldn't cost even half what the "Gang of Five" wants to spend of your tax dollars.

So, what's the advantage of having a grand stadium like the "Gang of Five" envision? Playoffs. Football, soccer, field hocky, track and field, and invitational track and field meets. They generate money.

So, what's the problem with this? Location! Gettysburg is NOT centrally located. It is very doubtful that the PIAA would select Gettysburg for a playoff game in any of those sports, except at the lowest, intra-district level, and then, only if Gettysburg High School warrants a home field slot in the playoffs. At that level, location is not that important because you are generally playing teams from nearby municipalities. The farther the team advances in the playoffs, the more essential it is to have a central location to play in. Note, playoff games are played in neutral locations, for example, Altoona and Hershey frequently host the eastern and western finals while Hershey hosts the State Championship game.

For the games Gettysburg would get, you certainly do not need an $8 million stadium.

Neither do the people who have to pay for it.


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Anonymous said...

I guess this is on hold for now. Too bad there's no way for local taypayers to vote against this.

Why don't they use this as a teaching tool? If the students can build a house, why not parts of the stadium? Just get good contractors to supervise, and it can be done less expensively.

GettysBLOG said...

Great idea. As long as they don't go near the wetlands.