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Teener League looking to re-up contract with PAHS

May 22, 2012

Progress on the new press box and concession stand at Rich Kuntz Memorial Field in Punxsutawney has come to a hault, as the project is low on funds. At the recent athletic committee meeting, the directors of the project requested an advance on a lease extension from PAHS to use the complex for high school baseball games. (Photo by Zak Lantz of The Punxsutawney Spirit)

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsutawney Area School Board Athletic Committee listened to a proposal presented by the Punxsy VFW Teener League board about the lease and some changes that would help in completing a major renovation at the field.

"Four years ago, we entered into a 10-year agreement with the use of Rich Kuntz Field and the district for use by the high school baseball teams beginning in 2008-09," said Doug Mesoraco, commissioner of the Punxsutawney VFW Teener League.

Mesoraco said the total due on the lease was $53,500, with an initial lump-sum, one-year payment of $24,000.

He said years two through five's payments were $3,000, and years six through 10 payments were scheduled to be $3,500.

This spring will complete the fourth year of the 10-year lease, he said.

"We have undertaken a huge renovation project at the field — beneficial not only to our Legion teams, but the high school team as well," Mesoraco said, adding that with the lease money paid up front, the group could complete more of the project in a timely manner.

"Once complete, we expect to have the best facility in District IX, and probably in western Pennsylvania," he said.

Mesoraco said this would create the best possibility of hosting playoff games in the future.

When considering the time and value of money, the upfront payment of $25,000 is cost effective for the district, Mesoraco said, adding that leaving the current lease alone, and renegotiating in seven years at the current rate, the district would pay out $28,928.

With the VFW's proposal using the $25,000 lump sum payment, the district would save $4,000 over the course of the additional four years, he said.

"Money saved is not the only benefit to accepting this proposal," Mesoraco said. "The school district would be guaranteed four more years under the current 10-year lease, which could potentially cause delays in the spring 2019 baseball season. In turn, our entire town would benefit by bringing increased revenue."

Mesoraco said the Teener League would be happy to personally present more information at a future athletic committee meeting.

"People from out of town said Kuntz Field has the best playing field in the district," he said.

School Board President Gary Conrad said the only difficulty he had with the proposal is not receiving any return on the district's money for seven to 10 years.

District Athletic Director Bill Vassallo said the committee will continue to discuss the proposal along with the full board.

Mesoraco said it's an ongoing project.

Also Monday, the committee looked at a proposal to increase the cost of a tickets to a PAHS sporting event.

• Football — Current, reserved is $4 per game with a $16 season pass; general admission for adults, $3 per game with no season pass; and $1 per game for students.

The proposed change — Reserved $5 per game, with a $20 season pass; general admission adult $4 per game, with a $16 season pass; and $2 for students per game, with no season pass.

• Basketball, wrestling, volleyball — Current: No reserved tickets; $3 per adult per game; and $1 per game per student.

The proposed change — $4 per game; season pass $3 times the number of games; and $2 per student per game.

• Soccer — Current: $2 per adult per game; and $1 per student per game.

Proposed change — $4 per adult per game; season pass $3 times the number of games; and $2 per student per game.

Committee member Jim Baun asked if it was necessary to raise student ticket prices.

The committee plans to discuss the proposal with the full board.

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