Principal urges limits on Mountain House High field rentals
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Jun 06, 2014 | 3127 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MOUNTAIN HOUSE — Mountain House High School field rentals will likely be rare, but those who are approved will have to pay for the privilege, according to Lammersville Unified School District officials.

The LUSD Facilities Use Committee voted Wednesday to recommend that the LUSD approve fees of $60 for a two-hour minimum and $30 for each additional hour. They also agreed on a $300 flat fee for those wishing to rent the fields for an entire day. The district board will have the final vote on the matter.

Alvina Keyser, committee member and district business chief, told the committee that the school’s architect recommended that no one outside the district use the high school’s facilities for the first year. She said the suggestion was meant to give district officials time to learn the new systems after the school opens in August.

“My recommendation is to be careful,” she said. “I think there should be limitations on the number of users on the fields each month.”

Ben Fobert, the high school principal, commented, “I advocate the use of school facilities — we have obligations to the community — but there has to be specific rules.”

He suggested that people who are allowed to use the fields should be trained in what is and isn’t permitted. He said the district’s rental policy should be clear, so if something goes wrong, renters will know they are responsible for repairs.

“You break it, you buy it,” he said. “Make sure they follow it (the policy) to the T.”

He suggested having someone inspect the fields before and after each use by non-school groups.

Committee chairman Matthew Balzarini, an LUSD board member, asked Fobert what he thought about weekend use of the fields.

The principal said it was common to keep a high school campus closed to the general public on weekends, but if the district decided to open it Monday through Saturday, it should be closed on Sundays.

He said that with the high school football team and other groups, such as the marching band, needing to use the fields, there wouldn’t be much time for outside organizations, let alone public use.

“At the high school site, you see year-round usage,” he said. “You see a lot more activity. The stadium is an expensive facility. We really need to think about how we use these facilities. We invested a lot of money, and we need to make sure we get a lot of use of it.

“It cost a lot of money to maintain a field,” he added.

The president of the Mountain House Hurricanes youth football program, Jeff Grondz, said his group hoped to use the stadium four times a year for games. He specifically mentioned two days in September and two days in October.

Committee members noted that all school activities would get first priority but said they should be able to accommodate the youth football group if no team activities were scheduled on those dates.

In response to a resident’s question about the use of bathrooms in the stadium, Balzarini suggested asking the district staff to look into the fiscal possibility of having a custodian work Tuesday through Saturday to oversee bathroom use.

When Balzarini asked Fobert his opinion of whether the district should rent out the school weight room, the principal said no. He said that the room cost $90,000 to build and contained specialized equipment.

Fobert said that more could go wrong when people used indoor facilities, such as gymnasiums or multipurpose rooms. He said the district should be cautious and explain to any renters that some equipment inside was reserved for school activities and might not be available to them.

The next meeting of the facilities committee, originally scheduled for next Wednesday, has been rescheduled at 6 p.m. June 16. The group will discuss the use of school kitchens.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at drizzo@tracypress.com or 830-4225.

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