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Education

Ken-Ton School District breaks ground on Kenmore East athletic field, Capital Project

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Ryan Zunner
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WBFO News

The Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District broke ground on a centerpiece of its $75 million Capital Project, a turf athletic field for Kenmore East High School. 

The mixed-use field will play host to the high school’s baseball, softball, and soccer teams, and is expected to be complete this fall. School Board President Matthew Chimera said improving athletic facilities district-wide has been a goal for some time. 

“These fields have been a long time coming, and I know it'll make a big difference in our athletic and physical education programs,” said Chimera. “Approximately 20 years ago, we began talking about turf in this district. And it's been great to see it all come to fruition at Crosby, Adams, Kenmore West, and now here at Kenmore East.”

In addition to the turf field at Kenmore East, Board President Chimera also spoke on a new mindset emerging as the district looks to improve its infrastructure with building overhauls which include new water pipes, redesigning traffic patterns, classroom additions at three elementary schools, and gym renovations. 

“What's more exciting is the direction of our district and where we're headed as we move Kenton forward,” Chimera said. “Due to COVID it's been a tough year for everyone. People are ready for some positive news.” 

The Ken-Ton School District will also start to re-utilize schools closed in 2016 as part of a downsizing effort. At the former Hamilton Elementary, a new full-day Pre-K program will start in the fall thanks to a partnership with the YMCA. A total of four Ken-Ton schools were closed in the last decade due to a population decline that has since turned into a steady population growth. 

School Superintendant Sabatino Cimato said the district needs to plan for that continued growth which they place at 1.2% annually through 2030.

“We have to know that the goal is to grow. We can't have this mindset in Ken-Ton that we're always going backwards, that we're always declining,” said Cimato. “We strategically have to set ourselves up so that we can absolutely make sure that this is sustainable. Every decision that we make is based on programming, based on student learning first, then we'll make the decisions.” 

With establishing Universal Pre-K at Hamilton, the district is also looking to expand its secondary programming at the former Kenmore Middle School. Cimato said the Ken-Ton School District maintains ownership of many of its closed school buildings, and believes that is a key in terms of the future.