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Where should Buffalo Public Schools build a sports field house?

Mike Desmond

Buffalo Public Schools would like a large and central field house for indoor sports during our long winter. Where? A community meeting Tuesday evening at Bennett High School looked at Shoshone Park as one of four possible sites.
This is a dream hunt, since the site is only one of the undecided issues about the complex. It's not clear how to pay for it or what facilities would be in the field house.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

During this study, the city and school system are also looking at 11 parks and school fields to improve outdoor facilities. Paul McDonnell, director of school facilities, is working with the city, the Ralph Wilson Foundation and Cannon Design on the study he said should be complete in October.

"Then, we evaluate all of the information," McDonnell said. "Basically, we have four sites. We're going to look at what we can fit on all four sites and then make an informed decision there. Some of them may fall right off the ladder, we don't know. We may have four that are all equal. That's something that we're all anxious to see what's going to happen."

The Shoshone site drew support and opposition, with some questioning why the vast adjacent property surrounding the LaSalle Metro Rail Station property couldn't be used as part of the field house site. The response was that the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority owns it.

Holly Cercone said the eventually chosen site has to be large.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

"Put enough sports in the facility," Cercone said. "So, in other words, if you have an area such as Shoshone Park that can only house 120,000 square feet of space and activities, but on the other side of town you have the space for, say, 300,000, to me that's a better option."

Zaid Islam doesn't like the single building.
"What we need to do is have a field house in one side of the city. In fact, I think we need two, even three," Islam said, "because our population isn't going to decrease, it's going to increase based on what's going on in the general area, with the Medical Campus and a couple of other things. You can see that in our neighborhood and it's only going to expand."

There is another meeting Thursday evening at PS 197 MST Prep to talk about using Glenny Park as a potential site.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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