``We could have the stadium open up in 1998 in which everyone would be very proud,'' said Cantor, who did not seek reelection and whose last meeting is Nov. 25, the night the board is expected to vote on the stadium. ``This is a window of opportunity, and we should not let it pass us by.''
For weeks, the facilities committee had argued the merits of a 1989 architectural study that examined eight locations in the district and determined that the South Campus field was the most appropriate and cost-effective.
Last month, in the face of mounting opposition, the committee bowed to community concerns about flooding, lighting, noise, vandalism and property values and reviewed three alternative sites on the upper field behind the administration building. The cost of those alternatives ranged from $3.1 million to $3.7 million, up to $1 million more than the $2.7 million Ghost Road proposal.
Cantor said he favored an option that did not affect existing tennis courts and minimally altered, but did not reduce, parking.
He said there was misinformation about projected costs. For example, he said, deducting the $500,000 budgeted to renovate the basement of the administration building for a locker room would bring the stadium's cost down to $2.6 million.
Should Abington waive the $500,000 the school board committed to the purchase of Susquehanna Woods last year, the cost would be further reduced to $2.1 million, said Cantor, who proposed the idea to the commissioners last week.
Finally, he suggested a joint project with the township on drainage near Baeder Creek that would result in a $300,000 savings, bringing the cost of the stadium down to $1.8 million.
The board has already committed $1.5 million to the stadium project. The remaining $300,000 could be raised through private and corporate donors, Cantor said.
Board President Pete Morse said he preferred the less expensive Ghost Road plan, which relies on fund-raising instead of additional tax dollars.
``I see $500,000 and $300,000,'' Morse said. ``That's $800,000, whether it comes from the board or the commissioners. I look at that and say we want to do this thing together and spend my money and your money wisely. It's still our money.''
Cantor said the township had a sizable cash surplus. ``What sense does it make to go to the taxpayer and ask for another $500,000 when we already have it?'' he asked.
Superintendent James McCaffery questioned the aesthetics of the stadium if it were built behind the administration building because it would eliminate trees and green space and be surrounded by a 4- to 12-foot wall on three sides and a fence.
``I prefer the Ghost Road site,'' he said. ``What did [the residents] think when they bought houses near school property? At some point, it will be used for school projects.''
Ed Quinn, who lives on Charles Street, which borders Ghost Road, praised Cantor, calling his proposal ``the most logical and most correct viewpoint.''