Artwork courtesy of Eli Cantor: “The $9.3 million bond that includes funds to renovate the physical education facilities has sparked debate”
Gym Grant is Not a Luxury But a Necessity
On January 12, 2016 the Mamaroneck community voted on a $9.3 million bond that included funds for the renovation of the Physical Education facilities. The bond passed with an astounding 87% approval rate, showing that much of the community felt the project was necessary.
While $9.3 million is no small sum, the gym facilities in the high school have needed renovation for a long time, mainly due to the lack of air conditioning and proper circulation, which has been problematic for students. Another issue is that the Palmer building gymnasium is around 60 years old. In fact, a board of trustees’ member, Roger Martin, said that the locker rooms in the Palmer Building are the same ones that were used in the late 50’s. The Post Building gymnasium is believed to be at least 70 years old. Bari Suman, Director of Athletics at Mamaroneck, said “facilities have a life. If you don’t pay attention, they deteriorate,” adding that “we’re at a point where we have to do something.”
Mr. Toombs, a physical education teacher who had substantial involvement in the writing of this bond, said “The time [for the renovation] is now, and this has become a safety issue. This also has to be brought to the 21st century codes. It is not a question of [whether] money should be spent, just how much should be spent.”
The school has provided countless reasons as to why this renovation is necessary, such as the extremely low air quality in the gyms due to a lack of ventilation. This puts the health of the students in danger, and as a result, many Physical Education teachers and coaches agree with the need for change. Other problems include poor lighting, doors and running water. The facilities are totally out of date and this problem has been around for the last 20 years. The lack of running water in many of the gym spaces is also a fire hazard. This bond aims to help to fix the outdated facilities, which is a major component.
Since the project is funded through a bond, it will not take money from other departments in the budget. In addition, this project will not take any space that was not already designated to the Physical Education Department, as most of the new square footage will utilize previously neglected spaces.
At the end of the day, however, Mr. Toombs reiterated, “Most of the focus is on teaching spaces. Much of the time, [the administrators] look at the dollar amounts to see how cost efficient projects are and the cost per kid each project effects and the cost per kid of this project isn’t very high because actually this has an impact on every kid.”
By Matthew Albert
Where’s The Money Really Going?
have attended gym class for all three years of my time at this school. I have walked the warm up lap, I have forgotten to bring gym clothes and I have gotten a one for participation on some days. I am just like all of you. Since I am a student just like you guys, I know that the locker rooms are not the best. The lockers are out of date, there are some bugs lurking and sanitation is lacking. So, the physical education teachers, along with other faculty members, decided to apply for a grant to repair the locker rooms. Yet again, it is the sports/physical education department that gets something new and better for a large sum of money.
It seems that every year athletics get substantial amounts of money to replace something that they already have. The football team got all new uniforms and a lot of new equipment, along with many other sports teams. I do understand that sometimes teams need new uniforms and that our locker rooms are unhygienic. My question is, why is it always that sports and the physical education department get the money? As everyone knows there are many more activities and departments at the high school.
The grant that the physical education department received just as easily could have gone to the art department to get supplies that they don’t have. There are times in art class where the art supplies have been overused, or there aren’t enough supplies to go around. It’s not just art. Many other subjects could also be helped with some additional money. The grant money could have gone to the language department. When I was about to do my Spanish homework in the library, there was no textbook for the level of Spanish I am in. I can’t do my Spanish homework at school, but instead of buying more textbooks to benefit education, we pay to fix our locker rooms to benefit sports.
I’m not saying that it is wrong that we are getting new locker rooms. Our locker rooms now aren’t the best. What I am saying is that it is a lot of money that is once again just benefitting the physical education/sports part of the school. Many other subjects and clubs could benefit from the money and should be considered when applying for grants. Not every student plays a sport; some students just want to be able to prosper in other areas, whether it is the subject they like, such as science, or a club they enjoy such as MHS 4 PCF.
By Mary McMillan