HomeCherry Hill NewsCherry Hill schools looking to give sports facilities a much-needed boost

Cherry Hill schools looking to give sports facilities a much-needed boost

The Cherry Hill community is teaming with Cherry Hill Public Schools in hopes of improving the district’s athletics facilities.

At last night’s board of education meeting, strategic planning chair Seth Klukoff said district and school board officials recently did a tour of the facilities at Cherry Hill High School East and West to determine what direction to go in when it comes to improvements for athletic facilities.

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The tour was done with a newly formed athletics committee consisting of school principals, athletic directors, coaches and parents. The committee is hoping to work with the school district and board to make facility improvements.

“It was very important to see the facilities in question with the athletics committee,” Klukoff said.

The disrepair of the facilities has been a hot button topic for parents at both high schools.

Resident Mark Solden has a son on the football team at Cherry Hill East and expressed his displeasure with both high schools’ football fields. He described them as the “worst of the worst.”

“It’s pathetic what’s at East,” he said. “There’s no lighting so they can’t play night games. They don’t have enough bleachers. Our team didn’t have a bench last year.”

Mark Lochbihler, a member of the athletics committee, said the group has taken steps to fix some issues. One of the biggest problems was with the Cherry Hill West tennis courts. Lochbihler described the courts as a “lawsuit waiting to happen.”

“We have to warn the other schools not to run off the sides of the court because they’ll break their feet,” Lochbihler said.

To fix the courts, the committee asked the township to step in. Lochbihler credited Mayor Chuck Cahn for meeting with the committee.

The school district does have athletics improvements lined up for the coming year. Among them are renovations of the training rooms, new softball dugouts at Cherry Hill East and bleachers for the visiting team at the Cherry Hill West football field.

However, Klukoff informed parents in attendance that budget constraints and the 2 percent tax levy cap limit the number of facility projects the district can do. He also said the district has to balance facility improvements with academics, which Klukoff described as “paramount.”

“It’s important to re-iterate we live with a 2 percent cap nowadays,” he said.

Lochbihler acknowledged there is a long way for the committee to go. They have been trying to unite parents from both schools and all different sports to join the committee and give their feedback so the committee can work together to develop a plan with the school district.

“We need to come together for this common cause,” Lochbihler said.

CHSchools
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