Athletic fields

Branford sports grounds project cost depends on schedule, architect says

BRAFORD – New athletic fields around the recently expanded and renovated Francis Walsh Middle School will cost more than $ 5.4 million, the school board said this week.

And that cost is only valid if the project can be completed in its entirety in the summer of 2022, according to Michael Losasso, an architect from Antinozzi and Associates who presented the updated plans to the Board of Education. during its monthly meeting.

The all-purpose synthetic turf field alone, a major component of the plan, would cost $ 1.25 million.

“It is clear that this field will be used regularly,” said Losasso. Pitch recovery will be easier with an all-purpose turf surface, he added.


Incidental costs, such as insurance, design fees, and hiring a project manager for the project, would add to the cost.

The 29-acre Damascus Road site would also have a turf training ground, a redeveloped softball field, a new synthetic track, a baseball field and a field hockey field, and the project includes the replacement of the hangars of storage, bottle filling stations, electrical service and outhouses, as well as improved drainage throughout.

Drainage and an irrigation system throughout the site, which is located in a 500-year-old floodplain area, would also be improved by raising the level and installing perimeter drains.

The property’s fields have historically had water problems.

Currently, there are no plans to install lights in the fields.

The school was originally built in 1972. Its grounds are used not only by the middle school, but also by the city’s parks and recreation department.

Losasso said city officials had consulted over the development of the plan and were generally supportive of the proposal.

The same was true for school board members, with one exception.

Board member Marie Watson questioned why the site couldn’t support a baseball field with 90-foot base trails instead of the existing 60-foot base trails.

There are six Little League fields in town and only two regulation-sized baseball fields, she said.

“They should have some land here,” Watson said. “I don’t want to see another Little League field here. If we can’t set up a 90 foot base field, I personally wouldn’t like to see any baseball diamonds.

She and others have suggested that a baseball field could overlap some of the adjacent fields.

Losasso said a study had been done with the 90-foot bases and suggested that another review would be done to see if that part of the plan could be reworked.

Losasso, whose company also worked on the Walsh renovation project, was also asked to investigate the possibility of sourcing local fill that would be used to raise the level of the fields.

The board did not vote on the plan. It is anticipated that the project will be included in the district capital budget plan.

The architect said the project’s cost estimates are based on the completion of work in a single continuous phase in the summer of 2022. Doing so over two summers would increase the cost, he said. Other uncertainties are supply chain issues and a volatile materials market.


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