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November 23, 2012

Pentucket board considers 3 plans for athletic fields

WEST NEWBURY — The Pentucket School Committee is considering three possible ways to reconfigure athletic fields to best meet programming needs at the secondary school campus.

At a meeting on Tuesday, the committee briefly reviewed a feasibility study it paid Gale Associates of Weymouth $19,960 to conduct on the site in September. The report found that the current condition and inventory of athletic fields doesn’t support the needs and demands of the high school’s athletic program.

The three alternative schematic designs proposed “will not only improve the condition of the facilities, but are capable of supporting more demand with the use of synthetic turf and athletic lighting,” the report states.

The feasibility study considered more than just upgrades to the tennis courts and the track and field behind the middle school, which voters at annual town meetings last April authorized funding $600,000 to complete.

It also looked at improvements to the baseball diamond, football field, scoreboard, bleachers and press box behind the high school; the softball field and adjacent field in front of the high school; and the multi-purpose field located next to the track behind the middle school.

A $100,000 project for safety upgrades to the theater and music facilities at the high school — also approved at the same time by voters at the annual meetings last spring — is going forward independent of the athletic field project. Bids for that job were opened on Friday, said Pentucket business manager Michael Bergeron.

Gale Associates recommends Alternative No. 3 as the best plan for addressing the athletic field improvements. With an estimated price tag of $3,699,821, it is the most costly option. Alternative No. 1 would cost an estimated $3,578,226; Alternative No. 2 came in at approximately $2,898,238.

The quotes include 10 percent for contingencies and the cost to acquire a small, privately owned property located along Main Street adjacent to the high school.

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