Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Teamer Field rental

TESD Facilities Committee Looking at Revenue Sources and Maintenance/Storage Issues

Yesterday there was a TESD Facilities Committee meeting which Ray Clarke attended and graciously supplied notes. I was particularly interested in the fee structure for use of school district facilities and here is related rental information:
  • Regulation 7040 – Details for the use of TESD facilities and description of the tiered levels of rental fees (Oct. 2010)
  • Fee Schedule for TESD facilities usage – Pages 10-15.
I found district fee schedule for school district facilities usage very difficult to figure out. I often have reason to look for various township locations for lectures for the Trust (Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust) so I looked at the fee schedule to check the rental fee for the high school auditorium. I think I figured out that as a nonprofit township organization, the fee would fall in the ‘C’ category of fees but beyond that I was lost — would I pay additional fee(s) for custodian and if so, was that charge for the entire event by the hour or was it for clean-up. Was the requirement for 1 person or multiple people? Would I pay additional for use of bathroom facilities for the length of the event?
It seems to me if the district is looking to increase rental usage of the facilities rental, perhaps the fee structure could be more ‘user-friendly’. I understand that the school district rentals may be different from other non-school district rentals but. . . how about a flat fee for ‘x’ hours of usage that would include custodian and bathroom facilities, rather than the renter struggling to do all the necessary ‘add-ons’. Example: Conestoga HS auditorium rental for up to 3 hours, Mon – Thurs could be listed as ‘x’ fee. The fee should be inclusive and include all required labor fees, use of bathrooms, etc. — streamline the pricing so it is obvious the total cost is obvious.
In my review of the current facilities fee structure, I would not be able to fill out the application form and know the total charge without speaking to someone at the school. At this point, I would not be able to determine if the rental fees are too ‘high’ or too ‘low’ as compared to other outside rental options; there are too many variables and possible add-ons to the base hourly rate. This comment is not intended as a criticism’ just a suggestion to perhaps review and simplify the fee schedule to make it more user-friendly and therefore, more like for people to rent the facilities.
Ray Clark’s Notes from 4/15 Facilities Committee Meeting:
The Facilities Committee held another 3 hour plus marathon on Friday. A couple of noteworthy items, the last two with implications for the operating and capital budgets.
  1. Kudos to Chuck Marshall and the Valley Creek Trustee Council for their work to protect the “Exceptional Value” Valley Creek and its tributaries like Crabby Creek. I came in on the end of a discussion about installing a vegetated swale and drainage system to control the run off from the CHS fields off Irish Road. The Council would fund the project as a gift to the School District. Importantly, there is also a commitment to maintain the system until the desired natural vegetation becomes established. With assurances about the impact to the district, the Committee recommended that the project be accepted.
  2. More to and fro about facility rental fees and priorities, but frustratingly nothing concrete emerging yet. There is a recognition that the end of the property bubble requires new revenue sources, and thus the need to revisit policies that subsidize groups like scouts and TEYSA, that charge others below market rates, that are set by the day not the hour, and that restrict the use of Teamer Field based on limitations of the old grass field. I think that Betsy Fadem has taken responsibility for coming up with draft revisions to policy and regulations that address these issues and ensure that neighbor concerns are incorporated. The plan is to have something fully in place for 2012, with changes to the Teamer Field use possibly sooner.
  3. Finally, the Committee has zeroed in on a plan to address the limited maintenance and storage space consequent on the demolition of the ESC. (Let’s not revisit that decision here now: water under the bridge!) Both people and inventory are dispersed all over the district: not the way we’d want to have our district supported, I think. Over many meetings, the Committee has pushed the administration and architect to come up with a cost conscious plan that fits into a long term vision for the district facilities. The recommendation is now a two phase project. First, add on to the current, but frail, maintenance building on Old Lancaster Road, then, second (as the adjacent property becomes available), expand the addition, convert the old building to parking and add a storage building. The capital commitment for Phase 1 would be $1.13 million. (Another $2 million would be required to complete the project, but would not be committed now). I was assured that the space requirements for all functions are fully supported by the cost and service benefits of having the functions in house. This will be discussed at the next School Board meeting on April 25th for those interested.
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