Eastern York School District School Board voted 6 to 3 Thursday in favor of moving forward with plans to renovate the stadium field and track, hinting at a possible end to the ongoing "turf wars," which have raged on for several years.
If the plan comes to fruition, construction will begin over the summer months and finish in time for fall sports to begin in August. Updates include a poly-resin track and a synthetic turf field, with Eastern's "Golden Knights" brand decorating the center.
Costs are estimated at $784,000, which will be paid for out of the budget's capital reserve fund.
Eastern's turf vs. natural grass discussion has remained a controversial board topic. Thursday night was no exception.
Board member Ronald Flaharty Jr., led the opposition, suggesting finances could be better spent supporting educational pursuits or updating school buildings.
"Only 13 percent of the student population will use a new field," he said.
Advocates for renovating the stadium track and field countered by noting that field improvement was long overdue, suggesting that the present condition of the field raises safety concerns for student athletes.
Girls' soccer head coach Brian Lyle addressed the board, saying, "We need to take care of our students."
Board member Doug Caldwell, who spoke out in favor of field renovation, said, "Yes, this will be funded by tax money. But this is an investment in the community."
The next board meeting will take place on March 21.