The North Salem Board of Education established a committee to continue studying the feasibility of installing a turf field at its meeting on Oct. 30.
The turf field would serve as a playing area for soccer, field hockey, lacrosse and baseball. It would also be used during the daytime to allow a more robust outdoor physical education program. Board President Deborah D’Agostino said board members have researched the viability of installing a turf field several years ago, but plans were tabled when then the economy collapsed.
“There are a lot of advantages to a turf field, which include extending playtime, reducing weather related game cancellations and making the school district competitive by allowing teams to practice on the type of field they will encounter,” D’Agostino said.
Consultants with KSQ Design and Chazen Companies presented a site evaluation for a turf field at the meeting. The consultants proposed a 210-foot by 360-foot field and evaluated three sites for suitability: Tompkins Field, the field hockey area and an area on the west campus.
Based on criteria such as north-south orientation, night lighting conditions, campus access, parking, pedestrian safety and the regulatory environment, they recommended the west campus site for further study. The site, a wooded area near the school gym, is currently only used for cross-country running.
Total cost of a new turf field, including lighting, fencing, scoreboard and bleachers, ranges from $3.8 million to $4.2 million. Additional options are provided to build four toilets at a cost of $300,000 to $500,000, and a $300,000 allowance for repaving.
The consultants also reviewed strategies to improve Tompkins Field. The costs of improvements vary from $200,000 for installing strip drains to up to $1 million for intensive drainage repair.
A planning committee was formed at the meeting, composed of school board members and members of the administration and community to oversee on-going planning. The committee will aslo engage a construction manager to assist in cost estimating and planning for construction logistics.
D’Agostino said further work is required to refine costs, and next steps include an environmental assessment, a soil survey and a geotechnical study. The board looks to finalize the project’s scope and costs by March and then decide whether to propose a bond referendum in May.