Stadium project is on schedule and on budget

Construction on the new stadium field improvement project at Joel Barlow High School shut down for the winter on Dec. 16, and according to the building committee, the project is on schedule and on budget.

Taxpayers in Redding and Easton approved an appropriation of up to $3,272,255 on Sept. 24 for construction of new bleachers, an artificial turf field, fencing, lighting, and parking lot improvements at the existing field at Joel Barlow High School.

Actual groundbreaking and demolition began on Oct. 7, two weeks after the referendum, with a winter deadline of Dec. 16, and a final project deadline of May 15.

Construction will be on hold until the weather permits work again. The project could start up again as early as mid-March.

Eric Roise of Gale Associates gave the Region 9 Board of Education an update on the project at its meeting on Dec. 19. He said the site has been secured and locked, the project is on schedule and the contractor will be back on site mid-March, or sooner, depending on the weather.

In just the couple of months the project has been under way, the bleachers are 90% complete, the press box is up, interior track work has been done, base surface for the turf is down, fence posts are in, and athletic lighting poles are in place, said Mr. Roise.

While touring the field, Dr. Thomas McMorran, head of school, and Walter Czudak, director of buildings and grounds at Barlow, said they were pleased with the work being done.

Although work on the parking lot was being done, it is on hold pending the results of an appeal to the Redding Zoning Board of Appeals regarding the lights in the parking lot.

The Region 9 board has been on the zoning board’s agenda to request two items.

The first item is a variance from section 5.6.6 to eliminate the required landscaped islands in the parking lot and to omit the eight-foot-wide landscaped area between parking stalls. Instead the request is for paved  areas between the stalls.

The second request is to allow 24-foot-high parking lot poles. Currently the regulations require a 12-foot height maximum.

Eliminating parking islands would allow more parking spaces and easier turnaround for buses, and taller light posts in the parking lot would create a need for fewer light posts and would be a cost savings, said Mr. Roise.

The last two scheduled zoning board meetings have been canceled and the requests are on the agenda for the Jan. 21 meeting. Chris Hocker, Region 9 chair from Redding, is checking with the zoning enforcement officer to see if the date can be moved earlier because the contractors need a decision on the parking lot by Feb. 1.

The building committee presented three change orders to the board. The first is a request for the school logo to be in the middle of the turf at a cost estimate of $11,770. The second is a new pole vault system at an estimated $23,000, and the third is an electrical connection box on the interior of the field at an estimated $11,375.

The board determined that the pole vault is an item that should be included in the operating budget. Mike Santangeli, athletic director, said the current pole vault system is still functional.

The electrical connection box was not included in the initial plan, and Vance Hancock, board member from Easton, said the building committee recommended moving forward with the box installation. The board approved the change order.

Funding for change orders comes from the approved contingency cost of the project, said Mark Lewis, board member from Redding.

When taxpayers approved the project, they also approved a 10% contingency of $286,900. This money is to pay for items not in the initial plan, such as change orders, said Mr. Lewis.

An additional change order will be submitted for excavation issues that were unanticipated, said Mr. Roise.

Boulders and ledge were discovered during the drilling process that did not show up in the pre-project borings, he said. The estimated cost for work will be in the $10,000-to-$12,000 range, he said.

Mr. Hocker also said that Turney Road “was holding up nicely,” and Mr. Roise said that about 90% of the heavy truck traffic work has been completed.

He said the condition of the road has been monitored and the road is not showing signs of stress, erosion or deterioration as a result of the truck traffic.

Prior to construction, the speed humps on Turney Road were taken out to reduce some of the noise from the trucks, said Mr. Czudak.

While the project is on hold until the weather warms up, Mr. Lewis said Mr. Czudak and Dr. McMorran have been checking on the site and making sure there isn’t any land erosion or runoff into the Aquarion land.






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