Hingham School Committee members are asking for help funding the multipurpose field at Hingham High with $1.3 million worth of requests from the Community Preservation Committee.
School Committee members discussed the possibility of requesting some kind of funding from CPC in September after a new law loosed restrictions on how the town could use the 1.5 percent surcharge on residents’ property tax bills.
Of the options, the committee is seeking $175,894 for the relocation of a natural grass softball field, $478,239 for the reconstruction of a natural turf baseball field, $327,110 for expanded southern parking, $150,000 for perimeter fencing and landscaping, and $168,333 for a pedestrian walkway.
“I provided them with a menu of options. It’s complicated, and I wanted to give them the opportunity to put their stamp on the project,” said School Committee Chair Caryl Falvey.
Although the request comes to a little under $1.3 million, Falvey does not expect every item to be chosen. Yet any help from the Community Preservation Committee would be beneficial, especially since the committee did not anticipate spending so much money on some items on the list.
“Expanded parking…that’s something we didn’t anticipate attacking when we looked at the fields first go-around. We were looking at it as a fields project, but there is a parking issue and traffic issue and we worked with police and came up with a solution, but it’s a town situation that faces all the residents. I feel bad that that will be tacked on to our fields project, but it has to be to get it done,” Falvey said.
CPC will do site reviews in November as well as meet with the advisory board and selectmen to review the requests.
“It’s my understanding they have 14 projects, roughly $5.7 million, [requested]. So that’s why I didn’t expect to get a lot, but I’d love to get some money,” Falvey said.
Falvey said the school committee is applying for grants elsewhere, including a MSL grassroots program and a grant through a baseball foundation called Baseball for Tomorrow.
“We’re writing grants for wherever we can find money to keep the price low for the town,” Falvey said.
Already, grant requests have been successful; although the committee wasn’t able to get a grant for the tennis courts, they did procure some money for the track.
The CPC request does not include all components of the project, such as spectator seating, sound program, press box, as well as funding for a turf field, lighting, or a concession stand.
Of the more controversial items, artificial turf and lighting are both items the school committee plans on asking for, but whether or not they get the funding will be up to town meeting.
“We promised [the town] a menu of items. We’ll probably put forward a proposal as recommended by ad hoc committee and give them a menu to pick and chose from there,” Falvey said. “It’s going to be a big town meeting.”
The timeline for the project is still up in the air, as much would depend on whether the town has natural or artificial turf.
At this point, school committee members hope to have bids in hand for concrete costs come Town Meeting. If the funding is awarded, members plan on starting construction as soon possible, with contracts awarded in May 2013, construction through September, and the grass growing in from October 2013 through June 2014.
If the town selects artificial turf, the field can be utilized right after construction is finished.
Although much is undecided, Falvey was optimistic of town meeting and the request, especially in regards to CPC.
“I hope so. I think it’s a great use of taxpayer money. The money is there. Prioritizing the town’s needs is tough, and CPC has done a great job allocating the funds they have had,” Falvey said. “I’m hoping they will pick something they can put their name to.”