PORTSMOUTH — The “T3 Project” athletic field upgrades at the high school got one step closer to reality Tuesday night when the School Committee reviewed proposals by three firms that bid on the project.
The upgrades include improvements to the football field, track and tennis courts, for which the district has set aside $2.5 million, including $1.8 million from its fund surplus. Other private donations — about $560,000 cash has been raised so far — will be used toward a fund for ongoing maintenance as well as “extras” to enhance the facilities.
The bids for the work were opened Feb. 28 and the low bidder, at $2.3 million, was Green Acres Landscapes and Construction of Lakeville, Mass. The other companies that submitted bids were RAD Sports of Rockland, Mass. at $2.64 million, and Clark Companies of Delhi, N.Y. at $3.09 million.
School Committee Chairman David Croston said the bid will be rewarded at the panel’s budget workshop on Wednesday, March 19. That would allow work to begin during the district’s spring vacation the week of April 20, school officials say.
In addition, the committee will hear concerns from any neighbors who abut the project at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 18, in the high school library.
“There will be dust, there will be noise, there will be trucks, and we want them duly notified,” said Mr. Croston, adding that the district is looking into the best way to minimize the disruption. “There are homes not 20 feet away from land that will be excavated.”
Eric Roise, project manager of Gale Associates, Inc. of Weymouth, Mass., a consulting firm that has been advising the committee on the project’s engineering, said he’s confident that Green Acres would be successful in finishing the projects, even though the company has received mixed reviews.
“They have won awards … but the main complaints of Green Acres revolves around closing up the project in the end,” Mr. Roise said. “They’re a good contractor, but they need to be watched.”
Besides a base bid, the three companies also included bids that took in account different types of the turf for the field as well as six alternates: a logo on the center of the turf field, a solar-powered scoreboard, backboards for the tennis courts, non-fixed track equipment such as hurdles and pads, maintenance equipment (a Gator tractor), and baseball and softball scoreboards.
“Again, looking at the prices, Green Acres is the low bidder for the alternates,” said Mr. Roise.
Four different types of turf were considered in the bids: FieldTurf XM-65, RAD Gridiron Pro (developed by RAD Sports, it was the only turf proposed by that company), FieldTurf Revolution and Sprinturf Ultrablade MX. The latter, Sprinturf, was Mr. Roise’s first choice.
Mr. Roise said it would cost the district anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000 annually to maintain a turf field, adding that they need to be swept for things like bobby pins, sunflower seed casings, tape and other pieces of trash.
New carpet approved
In other business Tuesday night, the committee voted 5-1 to have a new carpet installed in a middle school learning center. Committee members said the carpet hasn’t been replaced in about 15 years.
The cost of installing the carpet is estimated at about $13,630, according to School Finance Director Chris DiIuro. The money will come out of the schools’ operational budget, he said.
Committee member Andrew Kelly voted against the purchase, saying a new carpet is only an interim solution and that the reason why the carpet has deteriorated has not yet been identified. Some had speculated there was a problem with dampness in that part of the building, although Mr. Croston said he believed the carpet had sustained normal wear and tear.