- Project Updates
- Good Neighbor Meetings
- Download Presentations
- Download Drawings
- Project Financing
- Links to Learn More
- Project Questions or Concerns
- Meeting Minutes
MHS Athletic Field Improvement Plan
1. Why now?
The Methacton School District's administration is in the process of providing research and analysis to the Board of School Directors with regard to the possibility of undergoing a capital project aimed a improving the athletic facilities at Methacton High School.
These improvements include the installation of two artificial turf fields; both a multi-purpose field and football field, as well as concession stands, restroom facilities and stadium seating, among other improvements. The total borrowing associated with these improvements is estimated at $3.5 million; and current interest rates, combined with savings from bond refinancing make it possible to fund the project entirely without an increase in taxes.
2. Why turf?
Further, the need to upgrade the MHS athletic fields is now given the unprecedented number of student-athletes taking part in both district-run and community programs. The number of uses on each field far exceeds the industry standard and leads to field deterioration and safety risks. Because the community, as well as the school district, makes use of the athletic fields, the administration believes a project like this will yield real tangible benefits to the community now and for years to come.
The overuse of existing district athletic fields, coupled with an ever-increasing demand for more access, has created an environment that is overwhelmed and unsustainable. Nineteen fall and fifteen spring sports, as well as a multitude of other groups including physical education classes, the marching band and community classes, also use the fields.
3. Are these athletic facility improvements a part of the district's 2008-2014 strategic plan?
There is no component of the prescribed strategic plan that is designed to address capital improvements like the ones under consideration as part of this plan. However, it is incumbent upon the district to maintain and seek to improve its facilities and grounds, which represent the single greatest long-term investment of community tax funds. The district develops a capital improvement plan each year.
External organizations utilize the fields in the spring, summer and fall seasons. These organizations include the Methacton Athletic Association (baseball), YMCA (field hockey), Lower Providence Township (lacrosse), and Methacton Youth Lacrosse. These groups will benefit by having better and safer fields. Currently, community use is often restricted in order to preserve the fields for school district use. However, turf fields can be used at all times, and are not affected by rain, so community groups would have much greater access to the fields for their contests.
5. How long would the project take?
The district obtained a no-cost project overview from an architect. This overview includes a possible project timeline, available for download here.
6. Specifically, how is the district able to borrow 3.5 million dollars and not raise taxes?
The funding of the turf fields project would require borrowing approximately $3.5 million. There are three options available to accomplish that borrowing. The first option would be to use a fixed rate and term that would require level payments for a prescribed amount of time. The second would be a fixed rate with a term that would be determined by the district’s existing debt. The payment schedule would “wrap around” the current debt schedule to minimize the impact on the overall budget. The final option would be a variable rate borrowing that would wrap around existing debt as in the second option. Using the variable rate method would both minimize the interest portion of the borrowing and the impact on the budget.
The third option is the recommended method of borrowing, and would allow the district to avoid any increase in the budget until the 2015-16 budget year. At that time it would require a budgetary increase of $71,000 in the debt service portion of the budget that could be funded by using the savings from the bond refunding done in August 2011 to cover the shortfall in budget vs. actual payments. That shortfall would last eight years and would cap out at $123,500 in the last year. The restructuring option is the most logical method to use, thereby eliminating any increase in taxes to cover the cost of the project. The bulk of the payments would be in the last three years of the debt service schedule when the district’s remaining debt begins to drop, thereby extending millage requirements but not increasing them.
7. How would undergoing a $3.5 million capital project affect the district's yearly operating budget?
The district borrows money to fund building projects and other facility improvements. The debt encumbered becomes part of the district's overall debt service, and payments are carried over multiple budget years, much like a home mortgage. Each fiscal year, the Board includes money in the budget to make debt service payments. Given the low municipal interest rates and recent savings from bond refinancings, the cost of this capital project could be funded entirely without an increase in taxes. A table that outlines the impact on Methacton's overall debt service can be downloaded here.
8. Why is the relationship between academics and athletics important?
Based on research, the Methacton School District firmly believes that athletics are a key building block in the development of our students. As such, the district offers an array of athletic programs for high school and middle school students to take part in.
9. What is the status of the project?
Read the latest project update, including an overview of next steps, here.