Turf field, school improvements approved in Scituate

Turf field, school improvements approved in Scituate

SCITUATE – Upgrades to Caito Field and school renovations are scheduled to begin immediately, after the Town Council awarded R.A.D. Sports the project for $2,892,397 at a Sept. 5 meeting.

With five members present, the council voted 5-0 to approve the bid, including Republican David D’Agostino and the self-described “Independent Men,” President John Mahoney, Michael Payette, Scott Amaral and Nick Izzi.

The bid’s approval is the first step in using the $4.9 million school improvement bond approved by voters last November. School and field repairs are part of the $7.2 million five-year capital improvements plan that will use an additional $2.3 million in capital reserve funds to upgrade the schools. According to a 2017 bond report, 79 percent of the upgrades are eligible for 35 percent reimbursement from the Rhode Island Department of Education.

School Committee members presented plans to the council with support from Supt. Carol Blanchette and Robert Corrente, director of school facilities.

The highlight of the plans will be replacing Caito Field with a new turf field. Corrente said many schools prefer using turf because it is less damaging to an athlete’s feet and knees, and requires less upkeep than grass.

“There are many pros to turf, like the shock value. There’s an underneath padding, it reduces the risk of concussion. There’s no mowing, easily cleaned, lower maintenance and can withstand wear and tear. Lines are stitched in for multi-sport use, so there’s no painting either,” he said.

Life expectancy of a turf field is approximately 10 years, he said.

According to Scituate High School Athletic Director Sal Gelsomino, the football and lacrosse teams have not had a home game in more than three years. Instead, the teams play at nearby fields at North Smithfield High and Smithfield High.

“It’s going to be nice to have a home field, and much easier to get that school pride up with our team and games being held right here,” Gelsomino said. “The student body, athletes, everyone is going to benefit from this.”

Scituate will no longer be without a regulation track competition field either, Corrente said. There will also be new setups for the long-jump and high-jump, shot-put, the javelin toss and more.

“We didn’t have that stuff at the existing field, the kids would just practice and use different schools’ fields,” Corrente said.

Circling the field will be an all-new competitive running track, he said. The current black asphalt track will be replaced with a new, rubberized surface.

There will also be $100,000 in upgrades at Manning Field, including repairing and installing netting to stop balls from flying behind home plate. Gelsomino said soccer, baseball and softball will continue to be played at Manning Field, which will act as an overflow field for Caito as well.

Separate from the bid is the purchase of a field turf groomer and four team benches costing $8,849 total.

Corrente said construction will begin as soon as possible, with spring 2019 the earliest possible completion date.

“It’s not going to be done by Thanksgiving,” he said.

R.A.D. Sports gave a completion time of 14 weeks after ground-breaking, but Gelsomino said that can easily change with New England weather.

“We’re hoping for spring sports on the field this year,” he said.

Also included in the R.A.D bid are repairs and upgrades to high school and middle school septic systems. Existing high school septic tanks by the track and field will be abandoned according to R.A.D. Sports Project Manager Nathan Collins. R.A.D. will be adding three new pre-cast septic tanks and attaching them to the existing system at the middle school.

“We intend to tie into the middle school system which has access capacity there,” said John Perry, chief civil engineer at Gale Associates. He said previous issues with the middle school tanks were addressed, but not recorded.

School Committee member Carolyn Dias said the plans are approved by the Department of Environmental Management.

Improvement plans in the middle and high school include upgrades to four bathrooms each. Corrente said starting at the high school, two bathrooms will undergo renovations at a time, to be completed by next summer.

“They’re in pretty poor conditions, but the high school is a little worse for wear,” Corrente said.

Also included are upgrades at all three elementary schools:

• Renovations to the boys room at Hope Elementary, along with a handicap ramp.

• New windows and doors in the center section and main entrance of North Scituate Elementary.

• And a new liner in the well at Clayville Elementary.

Additional window repairs at each school will be performed throughout the district as needed, ensuring windows function properly, Corrente said.