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Friday, Sept. 13, 2019: Fowler project finally underway -- but at a big price

   Leading off today: I'm glad to see that a horribly overdue project is finally become a reality, but I've got a bad feeling about this one.

   No one is venturing a guess (at least publicly) as to how much the long-awaited high school stadium on the Public Service Leadership Academy at Fowler High School campus in Syracuse will ultimately cost. But given what's missing on the initial work order -- bleachers, press box, concession building, upper field work and lower practice field, to name a few -- the final price is a sure bet to come in significantly above the $18.2 million spelled out in the contract with W.D. Malone Trucking and Excavating.

   The contract was approved by Syracuse's Joint Schools Construction Board in August. Trimming the above-mentioned items presumably for now keeps the total project under the $20 million sum that the Syracuse Common Council agreed to borrow in April but puts the school district on the hook for the remaining work.

   If the price seems far in excess of what your local school district paid for its own upgrades to facilities, that's because it is. The school was promised a new field in 1997, but the project was repeatedly delayed by financial issues, public works projects on and near the property and multiple studies of the property's suitability to handle the facility. Fowler's football and soccer teams have not been able to host games in a decade.

   An economic engine: A good number of football, track and field and boys soccer fans are already familiar with Middletown's Faller Field, an $11 million stadium built in 2008. What has generally been overwhelmingly favorable feedback from athletes and fans figures to get better following the completion of a $1 million makeover this summer to install a new turf field and scoreboard.

   Middletown has the NYSPHSAA boys soccer final fours scheduled for Nov. 16-17 and then the state's eastern semifinals in football the following weekend. The complex hosted the state track championships last spring and is all but certain to be a serious contender for the next three-year contract that begins in 2021.

   Amanda Dana, director of the Orange County Office of Tourism, estimated that the track meet alone accounted for 1,280 room nights booked in area hotels. That brought in approximately $192,000 in gross revenue. Other spending for the weekend, including food and entertainment, tacked on somewhere in the vicinity of another $500,000 in spending.

   Keep on fighting: Warrensburg is trying to make do with a roster of 10 field hockey players in a sport whose rules call for having 11 on the field.

   The lineup consists of five seniors, two juniors, one sophomore, one freshman and an eighth-grader who played football last fall. One of the players also runs cross country and splits her practice time between the two.

   "She'll definitely be in shape," Warrensburg coach Teresa Colvin told The Post-Star.

   Warrensburg approached North Warren and then Glens Falls during the offseason to inquire about fielding a combined team. North Warren said it wasn't interested and then dropped its field hockey program as interest there has shifting toward soccer.

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   Thursday soccer notes: Kamryn Barnes scored six goals in leading the LaFargeville girls to a 7-3 victory over Alexandria Bay.

   In boys action, senior midfielder Ali Alomari scored four goals in Lackawanna's 7-3 win vs. Eden to raise his season total to 16 goals during the squad's 5-1 start.

   Josiah Bradley scored twice for Northstar Christian, which improved to 5-0 with a 3-0 win over C.G. Finney.

   Hawaii tweaks mercy rule: Hilo High's 104-0 victory over Waiakea on Saturday has prompted Hawaii's Big Island Interscholastic Federation to adjust its mercy rule for football games.

   BIIF athletic directors voted to move up the start of the running clock to any juncture of the game at which a team takes a 35-0 lead. The previous rule only allowed for the running clock in the second half, but that was of little use Saturday as Hilo raced to an 83-0 advantage in the second quarter.

   The BIIF is dealing with some competitive imbalances this season. Of the 17 games between BIIF teams, including two non-league contests, 14 have been played under the mercy rule.

   Clinic reminder: The 38th annual Basketball Coaches Association of New York fall clinic is coming up Sept. 27 at SUNY Cortland.

   Aside from the usual presentations from a variety of college coaches, there are two sets of breakout sessions during which attendees can check out topics such as Ossining girls coach Dan Ricci on secondary fast breaks and quick hitters; Washingtonville's Sue Cooney and Todd Rose on the synergy of basketball and yoga; and Dave Powers of Monroe Woodbury on handling "Gen Z" athletes.

   Registration information is available on the BCANY website.

   The first 200 coaches to sign up will receive a BCANY gift.

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