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Batavia City Schools will host a public information meeting this coming Tuesday on a proposed $3.9-million capital improvement project.

Slated for renovation are Woodward Field at Van Detta Stadium on Richmond Avenue; John Kennedy Elementary School on Vine Street; and Batavia High School’s main campus on State Street.

At Van Detta stadium, a $1.7-million improvement is in the works. A portion of that money would go towards installing artificial turf on the Woodward Field playing surface.

City Schools Superintendent Margaret Puzio talks about the advantages of an artificial surface.

"Right now with a dirt and grass field, you have usage problems," says Puzio. "You can only use it just so much before it becomes too flattened out, too muddy, too wet for use. So we had to protect as a grass field.

"As an artificial turf field, it would be more all-weather, and certainly more usable from dawn to dusk."

The cost of the turf field would be mostly picked up by state grants. Those grants were originally going to be used for a controversial turf field project on an open North Street lot in the city.

Other improvements involve renovations to Van Detta Stadium itself. The facility was built in 1947, and Puzio says the school district - and the times - have outgrown the old Van Detta.

"The main purpose is to make the stadium safe...all the electric and mechanical infrastructure," Puzio says. "A couple issues that we're looking to (address) are: to make the stadium handicapped-accessible. So we would want to have ramps up to the bleachers. And the lavaratories would also be renovated to become handicapped-accessible."

The stadium also only houses one locker room and one shower room, originally just for male usage. Van Detta was built at a time when girls' sports were not nearly as prominent. Under the new project, locker rooms and showers would be updated to facilitate both genders separately, in accordance with New York State's Title IX high school sports regulations.

A new concession stand is also in the works. Engineers will additionally look to expand parking.

The estimated cost of the project to the average homeowner would be $20.00 per year for the entire project. The school district says the cost would be offset by retiring current debt.

The public meeting on Tuesday will be held at 7:15pm in the auditorium at Batavia High School.

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