Yarmouth advisory group to tackle turf field replacement

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YARMOUTH — With the turf field at Yarmouth High School reaching the end of its lifespan, an advisory task force has been established to review cost estimates and project recommendations for a replacement.

The committee was established by the Town Council and School Committee and includes Marcia Noyse, director of Community Services; Athletic Director Susan Robbins; Town Councilors Randall Bates and Tim Sanders; School Committee Chairman David Ray and member Art Bell; school Business Manager Herb Hopkins; Town Manager Nat Tupper, and parent and sports booster member David Neujahr.

Superintendent of Schools Judy Paolucci said the group was formed to review information provided by Stantec Consulting. She said the group will have their first meeting on Monday, Oct. 24, and is expected to report back to the Town Council and Yarmouth School Committee on or before Jan. 9, 2012.

According to Tupper, a $1.3 million bond was approved in 2000 for the turf field at the high school. Drainage and irrigation issues ended up raising the cost of the project, and the town never put any money aside for a replacement.

The outstanding principal as of Oct. 18 is $425,000, he said, and the last payment of $85,000 is due in November 2015. The town expected the field to last about 15 years, but the final two years will be a stretch, Tupper said.

If another bond is approved, Tupper said the project would be done in fiscal year 2015 and would be expected to last only 10 years.

“The smart thing to do would be to set aside some money to replace it,” he said.

Part of the mission of the  advisory group is to recommend future maintenance and capital reinvestment practices to be adopted by the Town Council and/or School Committee.

The panel is also expected to prioritize and identify costs of the project and any elements that can be excluded from the proposal. It will also create use and management policies of the facility.

A bond referendum for the project could be scheduled in November 2012.

“The turf field is a community resource, not just a school resource,” Paolucci said. “It will take a lot of discussion to decide what we need and what we can do without. It would be great to start paying back on a new bond while establishing a fund to pay for the next one.”

The public meeting will be held Monday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m.  in the Town Hall Community Room.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @amy_k_anderson

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