VIDEO: Norristown Area School Board declines request to name field in honor of alum

A proposal to name the eight-lane track and football field at Norristown Area High School as the “Joshua ‘Josh’ Culbreath Field” was rejected by the Norristown Area School Board April 23 in a 7-2 vote after two residents spoke in favor of the community request.

Board members Pamela Assenmacher, Al Mauthe, Michael Melnyk, Janice Pearce, Laura Rivera, Iva Ferrell and board President Denise Ashe voted against the naming proposal.

Board members Susan Morrison-Bellamy and E. Pearl Smith voted for the Culbreath field name.

Two Norristown Area School District residents asked the board to rename the field and track for Culbreath, a former NAHS track star and alumnus, during the public comment part of the meeting.

Marilyn Deloplaine Manning said the school board should approve the proposal to name the field and track for Joshua Culbreath.

“What a role model for our track athletes today. What an inspiration,” Deloplaine Manning said. “It would be wonderful. Culbreath Track. We like that sound. Please vote to make that a reality.”

Richard McCray asked the board to foster the recognition of diversity in the district by naming the athletic complex after Culbreath.

A week prior, the board had discussed a community request to name the eight-lane track at Norristown Area High School for Culbreath. The overall athletic facility has already been named the “Norristown Area High School Athletic Complex” by the board. Community members had said in a letter to the board they would contribute $5,000 for the sign at the field but did not offer any funds for the track or the football field construction, which has been completed.



At the meeting, the board deliberated on whether to rescind a March 2011 decision to solicit monetary contributions in exchange for naming rights for components of the athletic complex and whether to name the track and the field for Culbreath without a monetary contribution. Rivera asked if the vote could be separated into two separate votes. Continued...

Solicitor Michael Clarke said the contribution policy had to be rescinded so it did not conflict with naming the field and track without a monetary contribution.

Rohricht said that the district had advertised for donations in press releases and news stories.

“We were trying to raise money for the balance of the cost of the field,” Ferrell said. “We have not sought out funds as aggressively as we could.”

Ashe said the district had to raise $1.5 million more to finish paying for the remainder of the athletic complex.

“Could we create an annual event to raise money?” Ashe said.

Rivera suggested that board members could vote no and reconsider the proposal next month.

“We had literally put prices on parts of the field. We had to do that,” Pearce said. “We have to straighten that out.”

Smith suggested tabling the proposal but that motion failed in a 4- 5 vote. Rivera, Ferrell, Morrison-Bellamy and Smith voted to table the proposal.

“I have mixed feelings whether it would be appropriate to rescind this,” Ferrell said. “I’m uncomfortable with the way this motion is drafted.”
A proposal to name the eight-lane track and football field at Norristown Area High School as the “Joshua ‘Josh’ Culbreath Field” was rejected by the Norristown Area School Board April 23 in a 7-2 vote after two residents spoke in favor of the community request.

Board members Pamela Assenmacher, Al Mauthe, Michael Melnyk, Janice Pearce, Laura Rivera, Iva Ferrell and board President Denise Ashe voted against the naming proposal.

Board members Susan Morrison-Bellamy and E. Pearl Smith voted for the Culbreath field name.

Two Norristown Area School District residents asked the board to rename the field and track for Culbreath, a former NAHS track star and alumnus, during the public comment part of the meeting.

Marilyn Deloplaine Manning said the school board should approve the proposal to name the field and track for Joshua Culbreath.

“What a role model for our track athletes today. What an inspiration,” Deloplaine Manning said. “It would be wonderful. Culbreath Track. We like that sound. Please vote to make that a reality.”

Richard McCray asked the board to foster the recognition of diversity in the district by naming the athletic complex after Culbreath.

A week prior, the board had discussed a community request to name the eight-lane track at Norristown Area High School for Culbreath. The overall athletic facility has already been named the “Norristown Area High School Athletic Complex” by the board. Community members had said in a letter to the board they would contribute $5,000 for the sign at the field but did not offer any funds for the track or the football field construction, which has been completed.



At the meeting, the board deliberated on whether to rescind a March 2011 decision to solicit monetary contributions in exchange for naming rights for components of the athletic complex and whether to name the track and the field for Culbreath without a monetary contribution. Rivera asked if the vote could be separated into two separate votes.

Solicitor Michael Clarke said the contribution policy had to be rescinded so it did not conflict with naming the field and track without a monetary contribution.

Rohricht said that the district had advertised for donations in press releases and news stories.

“We were trying to raise money for the balance of the cost of the field,” Ferrell said. “We have not sought out funds as aggressively as we could.”

Ashe said the district had to raise $1.5 million more to finish paying for the remainder of the athletic complex.

“Could we create an annual event to raise money?” Ashe said.

Rivera suggested that board members could vote no and reconsider the proposal next month.

“We had literally put prices on parts of the field. We had to do that,” Pearce said. “We have to straighten that out.”

Smith suggested tabling the proposal but that motion failed in a 4- 5 vote. Rivera, Ferrell, Morrison-Bellamy and Smith voted to table the proposal.

“I have mixed feelings whether it would be appropriate to rescind this,” Ferrell said. “I’m uncomfortable with the way this motion is drafted.”


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    Andrew Marcus has been a sportswriter with Montgomery Media since June 2008. Follow his blog for extended coverage on local sports in the Montgomery County, Pa. region.