Things are moving swiftly for the first phase of the Hingham High School athletic fields project, with bids for the new track having come in much lower than anticipated.
According to Caryl Falvey, vice chairman of the School Committee and chairman of the long-range planning committee, the School Committee will officially decide on a contractor at its meeting Monday.
“We’re going to be making a recommendation on Monday night on the vendors that we’re going to use. The good news is the bids came in significantly less than the $615,000 appropriated at Town Meeting,” Falvey said. “That’s great news, as our goal is to come in on time and under budget.”
Falvey said most likely the committee would be recommending RAD Sports, which came in at $447,000. Although not the lowest of the nine bids (which came in at $413,000), RAD met all the conditions and is most qualified for the work, Falvey said.
The highest bid was $766,800.
The plan is to start construction on the track on June 4, after graduation, and be finished by the time fall sports start up at the beginning of the school year next year.
The progress on the tennis courts is also moving along swiftly.
The bids have come in on the $60,000 project and officials will open them in the next week. Construction of the courts is also scheduled to begin over the summer.
“We have to have consistent days of 65 degree weather to address (tennis court) repairs. It will be done for fall but won’t be done until summer,” Falvey said. “That’s why it was so important for us to get town signing early, so we could be first in line [with construction companies] and not interrupt any of the sports seasons.”
In fact, the ability of the town to get approvals for the fields project during Special Town Meeting last October is the primary reason the town has saved money, Falvey said.
“It’s saved us a lot of money, time, and put ourselves first in the calendar of many of these [construction] companies,” Falvey said.
The competitive bid environment has also helped.
The School Committee is also dealing with a recently completed traffic study, which showed that traffic isn't expected to increase as long as field usage stays the same.
In a report by Coler & Colantino, Inc., engineers said that traffic circulation and parking during school days and on busy Saturday mornings currently function adequately. Any impact on traffic will largely depend on the addition of games for the upgraded fields.
Additionally, special events (such as the Veterans Day football game) cause visitor numbers to exceed available parking spaces, and pulling in and out of parking lots was difficult, the report said. However, these instances were few and far between.
Although it won’t have much impact for Phase 1, these results will be incorporated into Phase 2 plans, which will look at the football field and any added accoutrements, Falvey said.
At this point, Phase 2 is just beginning.
“We chose Gale & Associates to work with us on Phase 2. Our next meeting will be April 10, and we’re going to at that point prepare a milestone calendar and start addressing all the topics, bringing in industry experts on turf, lights, bleachers, and location for the field,” Falvey said. “We’ve made a lot of progress, and we’re moving along as quickly as possible.”
Currently, Phase 2 has $275,000 for design and construction documents, appropriated at Town Meeting in October. Any additional funding for the project itself will need more appropriations from the town.