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Cost Scuttles Chs 16th Street Plans

MONMOUTH -- Central School District's planned 16th Street development, which entails athletic fields and relocated modular classrooms to house teaching-support programs, has been put on hold.

MONMOUTH -- Central School District's planned 16th Street development, which entails athletic fields and relocated modular classrooms to house teaching-support programs, has been put on hold.

Central School Board voted on Jan. 11 to delay a final decision on the $1.6 million project, following the recommendation of a citizen committee that examined the costs and benefits.

Building two practice fields and meeting a city of Monmouth requirement on the site for a street extension and parking was too expensive, the nine-person group reported.

About $1.3 million was to come from high school reconstruction bond dollars, and another $300,000 from a state facilities grant.

Steve Moser, a committee member, said the bond should instead go to other items, such as energy upgrades, while the grant could pay for computers and other equipment.

The original project "is a big chunk of money that we might better use for other purposes," said Kathleen Stanley, a committee member.

A current proposal by another citizen group to install artificial turf on Central High's football field also figured into the recommendation, Stanley said. Estimates thus far are cheaper than planting and maintaining natural grass, she added.

The modular classrooms on the high school grounds, meanwhile, will remain where they are. Some committee members felt that they should be sold, while others opined the price they would fetch is far below their initial cost.

Superintendent Joseph Hunter said he believed the original concept was still the best long-term vision for the land.

Though that concept isn't completely off the table, school board members will examine other scenarios in which they could legally spend bond money that had been earmarked for the 16th Street facility, Hunter said.

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