The York Suburban School District is charging taxpayers to use the recently refurbished high school stadium.

The field opened Aug. 1 after being closed for much of the summer.

While it remains free to use for current students, other York Suburban residents will have to register with the district and purchase a $5 badge to gain access to the new facility.

Non-district residents are not eligible for access badges.

The fee for district residents to access the stadium is new, said Superintendent Shelly Merkle.

In a statement via email, she said the stadium was previously open 24 hours a day but the district encountered problems with such access.

“Some of our guests did not take care of the facility, and there were some unsafe situations that resulted during times of open access,” she said.

The board approved $23,795 for turf and track renovations in October 2016, and the work was completed in July, shortly before the stadium's re-opening this week. 

York Suburban High School assistant principal Christopher Adams said administrators and athletic officials noticed improper use of the stadium in the past, including bike-riding, cigarette butts on the track and a damaged soccer goal post.

He said the issue was not rampant, but district officials believed additional security measures such as a badge access system could deter issues in the future.

“It’s not a profit for us,” he added, saying the $5 annual charge would go toward covering the cost of the technology. The turf field will remain open for free public access.

The badge access system, equipped with a turnstile gate, will be installed at the main entrance in the near future for greater security, according to Adams.

Unlike the old stadium, the new facility will have limited hours, although the restricted times are mostly for school and overnight hours.

Adams said he estimates about 15 York Suburban residents have registered to use the track. He added people have expressed support for the new registration system.

“You take a little more ownership, a little more pride and care,” when facilities are secured, he said.

“Our community members will see what they have is great,” Adams said. “It’s a beautiful facility.”

Merkle agreed.

“This facility upgrade provides for the safety of our students and student athletes as well as a delightful environment for our casual users and fans,” she said.

When asked for comment on the changes, York Suburban school board member and facilities committee member Ellen Freireich deferred to Merkle.

For more information on how to register, view York Suburban's Stadium/Track Guidelines document here. Registration is only open to residents within the York Suburban School District.

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