BOE approves design for multi-purpose building at Foley

Photo by Daniel Jackovino This power pole, owned by PSE&G, will have to be relocated at great expense, said planners.
Photo by Daniel Jackovino
This power pole, owned by PSE&G, will have to be relocated at great expense, said planners.

BLOOMFIELD, NJ — The Bloomfield Board of Education, on Tuesday, Aug. 2, unanimously approved the design of a proposed two-storey, multi-purpose building, with an attic, to be constructed at Foley Field. The board vote followed a presentation by Mike Napolitano, president of the Foley Field Foundation, a non-profit organization assisting with improvements at the sports facility.

The proposed building would be situated at the southern end of the field, which is toward Memorial Park. A PSE&G utility pole will have to be removed and, according to Napolitano, dealing with the company has not been easy.

“The next thing is to sit down with PSE&G to remedy the problem with the utility pole,” he said in a telephone interview. “It sits within the perimeter of the proposed building. It’s been there forever, since Foley got wired.”

PSE&G has already had to move power lines at Foley Field. For the press box, which is attached to the bleachers along JFK Parkway North, the company moved its lines because they would have been too close to the press box. The lines were relocated across the thoroughfare to JFK Parkway South.

“They charged us severely,” Napolitano said. “They wanted $130,000. But Paul Lasek, the township engineer, got them down to $72,000.”

Napolitano hopes PSE&G will be more charitable this time.
“We’ve given already,” he said.

Each floor of the proposed building would be approximately 1,875 square feet. The ground and second floors will be accessible to the disabled by elevator.

At ground level, there will be men’s and women’s lavatories; a storage area; and a food preparation area with a concession window facing the playing field. Napolitano said the storage area would be for marching-band equipment. According to the architectural plans, the lavatories would be able to accommodate eight men and nine women. Included in each of those totals would be an ADA-accessible toilet.
The second floor would have a multi-purpose room; two ADA-compliant lavatories; and a kitchenette, as well as closet and storage space. The attic will be reached by a ladder. A crow’s nest balcony would face the playing field.

Estimated cost of the building is about $300,000, Napolitano said. The construction would be funded by Investors Savings, the Joseph Poniatowski Beneficial Association, Bloomfield High School alumnus Robert Pascal and Brookdale Shoprite. The Foley Field Foundation has an ongoing sponsorship program for bleacher seats which assists projects at the facility.
Napolitano said the new building is the third phase of improvements that also include a proposed outdoor pavilion for band performances.
The first phase tore down the 1930s-era concrete bleachers and established a new track and field, scoreboard and flag park. In phase two, the grandstands, press box and ticket booths were installed. A digital message board along JFK Parkway North, donated by Bloomfield College, is planned.

The rehabilitation of the field began in 2010 with a $2.9 million school district referendum. These funds were supplemented by donations through the Foley Field Foundation and a $900,000 Green Acres grant.

The grant paid for the grandstands, the press box and relocating the power lines. Napolitano said the fee charged by PSE&G to move the lines exhausted the grant.

“It will cause the Foley Field Foundation to float the entire bill for the multi-purpose building,” he said. “The contingency money of the grant could have paid for the building’s foundation and utility connectors and we could have donated the building. We could easily have gotten the job done. Now we’re going to have to jump through hoops. We will, but they are a big corporation and move slowly.”