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Sweet Home lays out plan for non-school use of sports complex

Members of the Sweet Home School Board heard a plan on how the district would charge other entities for use of the newly constructed sports complex Tuesday evening.

The presentation was given during the board’s study session by Don Feldmann from the Office of Public and Community Relations. In order to come up with what the district should charge, Feldmann, along with the athletic department, spoke to 11 districts around Western New York to get a sense of what they charge.

“We talked to districts with similar facilities,” he said. “We talked about their fee structure. Based on that, we worked on a fair fee structure for our facility.”

The districts Feldmann spoke with all charge a variable amount based on who is using the field, he said.

With that in mind, Feldmann set up four categories for how Sweet Home should charge for use of the field. The first category includes Sweet Home-connected volunteer organizations. These organizations serve mostly Sweet Home students, and feature unpaid volunteers.

“The first example that comes to mind is Mel Ott Little League,” he said.

The second category would be for organizations that include a Sweet Home employee, and serve the district. The employees of these organizations would be paid employees.

“An example would be the towns of Tonawanda or Amherst youth and recreation departments,” he said.

Nonprofit organizations would fit into the third category, which would include groups like the Alzheimer’s Association. The last category would be for-profit organizations, such as the Buffalo Bisons running a baseball camp.

For the first category, the rental fee would be set at $25 an hour. For the second category, the fee jumps to $75 per hour. The nonprofit rate, in the third category, would be $200 per hour without lights. For-profits would pay $400 per hour.

The use of lights in the facility adds $25 per hour to the base cost, Feldmann said.

Superintendent Anthony J. Day said the spring sports schedule will give the district a feel for how the fee structure works before the busier fall sports calendar.

“The spring will serve as a pilot,” he said. “In July, we’ll re-look at the entire fee structure and determine if it is working for us. If not, we’ll amend it.”

The board will decide on whether to move forward with the fee structure at their next meeting on April 19.