WESTFIELD, NJ — A contract for the design of turf fields proposed behind Edison Intermediate School will go to the town council with the unanimous endorsement of the Westfield Recreation Commission.

The $55,000 contract, which would be awarded to Spiezle Architectural Group, will cover the full design of the project, but not the actual construction, officials said at Monday's recreation commission meeting. Various constituents of the school will be consulted, including the marching band director, school principal and athletic director, officials said, and the monies would come from the town's field improvement fund, the officials said.

“If this design were then accepted it would give us enough information as well as the cost of the project to then put out the bid for construction design and all the construction building that would come after that, once funding for the project is locked down,” said Brad Rothenberg, a member of the commission and steering committee for the project.

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While the final cost of the project has yet to be determined, the town's parks and recreation master plan estimates the cost of the turf fields at $2.68 million.

The contract would also identify any issues with wetlands or water drainage in the fields, a point of concern pointed out in an attempt to turf the Edison fields years ago. A prior project, now scrapped, had an architect from the Board of Education delineate a portion of the field as problematic with wetlands.

“At that point in time because of the wetlands and so forth, the field at Edison was going to be more expensive, and we chose, since we had to go out for a bond, a different option,” Board of Education President Peggy Oster said of an earlier attempt to turf Edison fields.

 “We were just making a different choice because [Edison] was more expensive, and we were not willing to spend the money at that point in time.”

Spiezle was one of seven responses given to the town after an RFP for the project appeared last month. Rothenberg said Spiezle was chosen for its track record of high school field experience in New Jersey and a “strong endorsement” from School Business Administrator Dana Sullivan, who is familiar with the principal of the firm.

“They had a great presentation they put together in their proposal, and we feel they'll give a good presentation in the end to really demonstrate what the design is intending to do,” Rothenberg said.

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