After years of dreaming and planning, it’s Lights On at Nutley Oval


After many years of planning, it is finally a reality – the Nutley Oval is now equipped for events under the lights.

About 13 years ago, as Nutley Board of Education member Charles Kucinski recalls, an electrical contractor hired by the school board installed PVC (polyvinyl chloride) insulated wiring under the oval sports field as part of preparatory work leading to the connection to the light towers.

But the costly final step didn’t come until this spring, when the board authorized a contract with Oskaloosa, Iowa-based Musco Sports Lighting for $480,961 to electrify the complex with six streetlights strategically placed around it. ground. The company, which operates worldwide, has a long resume of lighting work for sports arenas ranging “from Little League fields to the Olympic Games”.

Chairman of the Board, Dan Carnicella, offered this perspective on achieving this long-awaited goal for the District: “Installing the stadium lights at the Oval has been a conversation among many of our board members. directors past and present that spans decades Recent upgrades to the turf (last year) and lighting required many years of strategic planning through budgeting and capital funding.

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Continuing, Carnicella said: “The Nutley Park Oval is the centerpiece of our community. The lighting upgrades will expand the use of the grounds for community events, but most importantly, (the upgrades) will have a significant impact on our sports programs” by expanding the use of the district’s main sports facility and creating ” a better environment for students and coaches…using the field after sunset.

What Carnicella described as a “soft opening” of the newly improved field happened on April 6 when Nutley High School played its first lacrosse game under the lights, followed subsequently by first night contests involving the flag- women’s football and baseball.

“As we continue into the fall season,” Carnicella noted, “this (night game) will expand into football, strip and soccer.”

Opening the Oval for evening events should not only benefit local sports and related student activities, Kucinski observed, but should also prove “a boon to our downtown.”

As the official “opening” of the illuminated Oval approaches – (no date has yet been set for the high school Maroon Raiders grid team’s first home game) – Kucinski said that because “ it’s going to be a big deal for Nutley,” he predicts the game and opening ceremonies will be “announced in advance and televised.”

But the Oval is not the school board‘s only focus when it comes to improving school infrastructure.

The board has awarded a series of contracts, with work to continue this summer when students are on break, for the following projects:

– The gymnasium at Nutley High School will have its bleachers removed and replaced with a new set of seats by Degler-Whiting, Inc., of Frazer, Pa., at a cost of $170,200. The same contractor will also remove the two Fairplay electronic scoreboards from the gymnasium and install two new models for $13,450. Additionally, Jack Devine Restorations of Marlton will refinish the gymnasium floor for $28,380.

– Yantacaw Elementary School is to undergo a “safe vestibule” project by Practical LLC, of ​​Ridgewood, at a cost of $1,091,980. Yantacaw is the last remaining school facility in the district whose main entrance and lobby await the installation of electronic security devices designed to protect students, teachers and staff from unwanted intrusion.

As part of the space reconfiguration accompanying the secure quarters, the principal’s office would be moved from its current location on the second floor to the first floor lobby.

Meanwhile, in the district personnel arena, the search for a replacement for outgoing superintendent Julie Glazer, who is due to leave on June 30, continues.

Carnicella said the school board met on April 7 with Ronald Bolandi, a consultant hired to lead the search, to review a list of 27 candidates who Carnicella said represented “a mix of internal and external applicants.”

He said the field of candidates had been narrowed down to 10 who met school board and stakeholder qualification criteria and who were invited for interviews with Bolandi.

Nine agreed “and feedback (from those interviews) has been shared with the board,” he said.

Going forward, the board will conduct two rounds of interviews, the first during the week of May 2, followed by a second during the week of May 16, when two finalists are selected.

Carnicella said he expects the board to choose a new superintendent at the next board meeting on May 23 or early June.

What Carnicella didn’t say was that due to disputes arising from some board members having parents who work for the district, under public school statute only six of the nine members would have to attend. to the interview process, according to a source close to the situation. . Whether that will happen remains to be seen.

In the meantime, with Glazer on terminal leave until June 30, Kent Bania, the assistant superintendent, is the district’s acting chief administrator.

Learn more about the writer…

Ron Leir | For the observer

Ron Leir has been a journalist since the late 1960s, beginning his career at the Jersey Journal, after being a summer reporter at university. He became a full-time scribe in February 1972, working primarily as a generalist in all but sports, including a 3-year stint as associate editor for entertainment, reporting, religion, etc.

He retired from JJ in May 2009 and came to The Observer soon after.

He is also a part-time actor, mostly on stage, having worked most recently with Kearny-based WHATCo. and plays Sunday softball in Central Park, New York


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