READING - At the most recent meeting of the School Committee Chief Financial Officer Gail Dowd announced that bids were opened for the rebuilding of the Turf II field in the Birch Meadow complex.

Present for the presentation were Town Engineer Ryan Percival and a representative from Activitas, the consultant on the project.

Bids on the project were opened June 26th and all bidders came in under the capital budget amount of $2.25 million in debt funding which was approved at the April Town meeting.

There will be a slight enlargement of the field with a 20’ net at both ends for ball control and safety. The field will be expanded slightly to allow for a 10 ft. runout at the sideline instead of the current 3 ft. which was deemed to be unsafe. Under the new plan girls lacrosse will be able to play on the field as well as soccer and general use. These activities will be expanded with the addition of advanced LED light fixtures which will control spill and glare, keeping the light from extending past the field. This will allow night games with proper lighting at the facility. There will also be new bleachers at the field with the current ones moved elsewhere.

There will be no use of the field this fall during construction and the field at Parker Middle School will be the site for some of the games that had been played at Turf II.

The consultant explained that the new turf would have an eight year warranty and the turf Company would maintain the field. It was stated that the new field could expect to see 10-12 years of use.

Turf II will need to be scheduled as ‘down time’ for the fall 2019, due to the need for advance field planning coupled with the uncertainty of completion of construction projects. The Athletic Director continues to work with the Recreation Department to ensure all scheduling activities and considerations are being addressed. The School department will continue provide updates as they become available.

The working group (comprised of the Town Engineer, Director of DPW, Director of Facilities and School CFO), with Activitas narrowed the focus of the project to the following scope - Turf II replacement in-kind with new lights. The working team developed a list of add alternates that were prioritized and brought forth to the larger decision-making group (which included the Superintendent, Town Manager, Athletics and Recreation).

Meetings were held throughout the planning and design process with Athletics and Recreation to ensure all questions and concerns were addressed in a timely manner.. A final planning meeting was held on May 23rd with the Town Manager and Superintendent of Schools to present and review the design documents and to make final designs on the various design aspects of the project. The project was bid out through the Town’s Procurement Office with the assistance of Activitas in early June.

A site visit was held on Tuesday June 11th for all interested parties to visit Turf II and to ask any clarifying questions.

Once the project is awarded, the school anticipates being in construction late summer into early fall.

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