Test-takers leave Guilderland field a mess

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
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Damaged athletic fields at Farnsworth Middle School in Guilderland are pictured on Monday.
Photographer: Patrick Dodson
Damaged athletic fields at Farnsworth Middle School in Guilderland are pictured on Monday.

— Lacrosse can be played in bitter cold or blazing heat or most conditions in between. It can’t be played in calf-deep mud.

No one will be playing lacrosse, or soccer, or anything on four-plus acres of fields at Farnsworth Middle School in Guilderland, after a parking detour Saturday for an unexpectedly large crowd of civil service test-takers left the area unplayable, unparkable and overall unusable.

Superintendent Marie Wiles said more than twice as many people as expected showed up Saturday — more than 1,000 for each of the two sessions — causing a scramble for parking that spilled into residential areas.

“Cars were parked on [Route] 155 and creating a terrible safety hazard,” Wiles said. “They had to go somewhere.”

That meant the school’s sports fields. As a frigid morning gave way to a spring thaw, cars tore up grass and rutted the fields. Conditions deteriorated as many of the hundreds of drivers spun their tires in an effort to get out of the quagmire.

Wiles said the fields will not be playable until fall at the earliest. Accommodations will be made to find practice and game space for the modified lacrosse team.

Without assigning responsibility, Wiles said the district being blindsided by the turnout was the result of “classic miscommunication.” She was less equivocal over who should bear the cost of repairs, still to be determined: The New York State Department of Civil Service.

“We are all very hopeful that the cost will not be borne by the taxpayers of the Guilderland school district,” she said. “I think Civil Service will do the right thing here.”

Calls seeking comment from Civil Service were not immediately returned.

Tests slated for Sunday at the school were canceled. The Department of Civil Service announced tests scheduled for that day have been moved to this coming Saturday and Sunday at Albany High School.

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March 25, 2014
5:05 p.m.
1lester2 says...

Doesn't the school district have custodians or "campus patrol" that can tell people where and where not to park. Don't put the blame on the State !

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