We believe the athletic field proposal Shirley taxpayers will be voting on Dec. 11 is not the most cost-effective plan to meet its stated objectives — to substantially upgrade the athletic fields and by so doing, reduce the number and intensity of injuries. for the following reasons:
* It limits meeting the student sports’ needs on the high school campus, which is clearly too small to accommodate fields for all of the sports, although this same approach is not applied at the middle school.
* An alternative approach of using existing fields for baseball/softball will allow for separating the track from the primary football/soccer field, eliminating the current safety hazard as well as avoiding the complete rebuilding of the track.
* It includes an excessive cost of $365,000 for a concession stand.
* We estimate cost savings of $2.9 million from these changes.
Proceeding without these savings now when we will be asked at the next Town Meeting to begin a planning the process to plans to meet the major capital needs of our elementary schools with a price tag in the tens of millions of dollars is fiscally unwise.
For these reasons we recommend a “no” vote on Dec. 11.
John O’Keefe, chairperson
Shirley Finance Committee