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Cedar Grove BOE Tackles Athletic Field Space Issues

The board presented some adjustments to athletic field scheduling during a public meeting on Tuesday.

School field space will be easier to come by, now that the Cedar Grove Board of Education is adjusting the way sports organizations reserve the athletic fields.

Previously, an organization would put in a request for field space at a certain school and would reserve every field on that property even though they weren't utilizing all of it.

In addition, different offices were handling the scheduling of sports, with indoor courts going to the business office and the outside fields going to the athletic director.

The board began re-examining some of its policies after Cedar Grove Soccer Club Vice President Greg Dilley approached the board and explained the difficulty the soccer club was having securing field space.

“Other organizations often reserve field space on a 24-7 basis and only use the fields for a fraction of the time,” said Dilley.

On Tuesday night the board presented its plan to divide the fields to offer more space for sports teams to practice simultaneously.

“They will not be regulation fields but we can squeeze you in and that's the bottom line,” said Superintendent Dr. Gene Polles

North End School, which used to be reserved in its entirety by one organization, has been divided so that there are now a total of five playing fields while South End will have a total of four fields.

“We added six fields between North End and South End and that's just for the fall,” said Board of Education President Frank Mandala.

“That's awesome,” said Board Member Laura Marinelli, while members of the public applauded the board's efforts.

The fields are divided up differently for fall and spring to better accommodate seasonal sports. For example, the field at Memorial Middle School will be used as a baseball field in the spring and as soccer, lacrosse or football practice fields in the fall.

The board also adjusted the procedure for applying for fields. All field requests will now go through the business office so it can be handled by one central location. Sports organizations will now have to apply individually for fields instead of reserving every field at a school.

For the time being everything will need to be handled on paper but eventually the process will be handled online, said Polles.

“I think its outstanding what they've accomplished since the last meeting,” said Dilley. “This is a great first step.”

Dilley still has some concerns about having to submit separate requests for individual fields and is concerned with the amount of time it will take to get the schedule squared away.

“If I want to use three fields I will have to put in three requests so the paperwork is doubled,” he said. “The greatest thing that came out of this is that there probably are enough fields now for all the sports to co-exist.”

“One minor drawback is the paperwork that comes out of it, but it's well worth it,” he said. He looks forward to being able to handle the scheduling online, he added.

“By next year it will be like clockwork,” Polles assured the public.

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