New Look for SHS Sports Facilities

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p24_n84_Clipart_Tennis_RacquetsWith the (almost) end of the spring sport season, several much needed improvements are being made to the high school recreational facilities. Topping the list is the renovation of the tennis courts and the addition of a singles only court on the Rotary Hut side of the courts. The courts have had problems since they were built due to a faulty base layer and improper installation. They are being completely demolished with the asphalt being pulverized and added to a new 4 inch stone aggregate base. Proper drainage will be provided under and around the courts and the west end wall will be rebuilt. Additionally, the architect for Vermont Recreational, the company doing the job, has recommended that a saw cut along the line of the net be made to allow for expansion and contraction of the asphalt. This will hopefully prevent cracks from forming on the playing surface of the courts. Since the work started May 8, the high school tennis teams have been playing at the middle school courts.

In concert with that project, two regulation size basketball courts are being added to the north side of the tennis courts. These courts were originally included in the plans when the new high school was opened in 2002 but had to be scrapped due to financial concerns at the time. The space for it, however, was laid out and has been preserved for the last 15 years. It made financial sense to do the basketball project while the heavy equipment was on site for the tennis courts as it is saving $30K in mobilization expenses. The total cost of the project is $513,862 with $445,168 of it for the tennis courts and $68,694 for the basketball portion. The funding was requested of ACE (Advisory Committee on Capital Expenditures) 3 years ago and ACE budgeted for it over the past two years. The Board of Finance approved the cost and the Permanent Building Commission is overseeing the projects. John Cloonan, Suffield’s Public Works Director, named Jack Muska, former Public Works Director in Suffield, to manage the construction and make sure that the contractor is doing a good job. Unfortunately, unlike the courts at the middle school complex, the high school courts will not be lighted as that would have added an additional $150K to the project.

Beginning on June 12, weather permitting, the high school track will be repaired and repainted. The Cape and Islands Company submitted the winning bid for this project which will run $83,700.

Lastly, the turf field will be reconditioned to maintain its resiliency, something that should be done every 5 years or so. In layman’s terms, the loose rubber stuff will be sucked out and replaced with new rubber stuff. The cost for this has been budgeted in the town’s grounds maintenance budget. The bad news is that in the not too distant future the turf carpet will have to be replaced and that is a major expense. While it was projected to be $300K, at the time the field was installed, an architect that the town consulted indicated that the cost could be as high as $600K.

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