Bogota School Board Discusses Facility and Field Renovations and Addresses Community Concerns

At a recent Bogota School Board meeting, Superintendent Damian Kennedy led discussions on a variety of topics, including extensive school facility renovations, updates on graduation reports, and the development of new fields. The meeting was marked by active community engagement, with citizens voicing concerns and seeking clarifications on issues ranging from the impact of field lighting on residences to tree planting and student residency.

One of the focal points of the meeting was the unveiling of visual concepts for the new Fiago field by Mr. Kennedy, featuring a plaza, new trees, a concession stand, and the preservation of the old field house. The project, set to open in September 2024, also includes plans for educational installations like bird sanctuaries. The board outlined the timeline, with the bidding process beginning in December or January. Additionally, Mr. Kennedy discussed renovations to high school bathrooms and the realignment of bathrooms at Bixby, ensuring every preschool and kindergarten classroom would have bathroom access, with work scheduled over the summer.

Community members actively participated in the question-and-answer session. Montany Briggs Lopez inquired about the inclusion of a soccer field, to which Mr. Kennedy responded affirmatively, acknowledging the growing interest in soccer. Crystal Kunzer and Susan Harper raised concerns about the impact of new field lighting on nearby residences. Mr. Kennedy and the board assured that the new technology is more direct and focal, with lights on timers, and that they are considering the best possible technology at the best possible price.

Susan Harper also sought clarification on the improvements planned for the walking path around the baseball fields and the planting of new trees. The board confirmed the planting of trees around the proposed football area and the baseball field and maintained that the walking path would retain its current appearance. Harper inquired about student graduation and college enrollment, with the superintendent emphasizing the success of Bogota students and offering to provide detailed statistics upon request.

Adrian Soriano expressed excitement about the renovations but raised concerns about student residency and behavior, particularly students commuting from New York and occurrences of fights within the school. The board explained the procedures in place to verify student residency and encouraged communication with the high school principal to address any concerns.

The board also discussed progress on the CTE building, with a new CTE supervisor hired to develop potential programs and the addition of five new classrooms planned between January and December 2024. The board members, including Idalia Alvarez, Marco Navarro, Susan Cruz, Robert Alvarez, Trina Rivera Olivo, John Ortega, Jose Chavez, Bisi Ruckett, and Frank Miranda, continued to address other standard procedural items and unanimously approved the motions to close the hearing of the citizens and to adjourn the meeting.

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