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Planners: SWR turf field, tennis courts “on schedule” despite changes

tennis courts

Shoreham-Wading River High School’s new turf athletic field and renovated tennis courts remain on schedule despite unforeseen expenses and some changes to the plan.

Representatives from Park East Construction told the Board of Education Tuesday that the tennis courts will be completed by Nov. 1 and the turf field is scheduled to be finished by Dec. 1.

Both projects are part of the $48.5 million capital improvement bond approved by voters in January.

Roger Smith of BBS Architects said plans for the tennis courts didn’t include improving nearby retaining walls, but, now that construction is underway, it has become apparent in the last week that some repair work is needed.

The $1.1 million tennis court project included an “allowance budget” of $15,000 to pay for unforeseen work during construction, but those funds have already been spent for other projects, such as tree removal and repairing sprinkler wiring that was commingled with the roots of the trees that were removed, assistant superintendent for finances and operations Glen Arcuri confirmed after Tuesday’s meeting.

In order to move forward with the $49,000 retaining wall project, which includes stairs and fencing, Mr. Smith proposed the school board approve a change order, which it did unanimously at Tuesday’s meeting.

He described expenses for the retaining wall project as “a wash,” because the recently completed roof and fire alarm projects came in under budget by about $51,000.

As for the turf field, Mr. Smith said the manufacturer, Sprinturf, is recommending the district go with a denser material, which Mr. Smith described as being “slightly more grass.” The change has been proposed since the district has decided to use organic fill for the project, he said.

Mr. Smith then agreed to send a list of schools that use such turf fields to athletic director Mark Passamonte for his review.

The school board is expected to have a discussion about how much the recommended turf field  will cost and make its decision about which one to install — as well as review a plan to possibly add an irrigation system to that project — at next Tuesday’s meeting.

Mr. Passamonte has also requested the school board approve a plan to install a fence around the track. The $40,000 proposal includes a four-foot chain-linked fence located about five feet away from the track, he said.

Mr. Passamonte said he’s talked with at least 20 athletic directors across Long Island and they confirmed their fields are fenced in.

“We might be the only school that doesn’t have a fence,” he said, adding that the fence will help keep “fans away, especially for lacrosse games.” Mr. Smith agreed to draw up a plan for the school board’s review before next Tuesday’s meeting.

The school board also discussed how much access it would like to grant community members, as well as possibly charging fees for outside groups to use the new athletic facilities.

School board members Robert Rose and Sean Bergan said they believe the tennis courts should be open to residents. However, most board members said they opposed allowing anyone other than SWR students to use the new turf field, which Mr. Bergan described as a “sacred place for the students.”

School administrators are expected to research neighboring districts’ policies and update the Board of Education at a future meeting.

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Photo: The new courts at Shoreham-Wading River High School. (Credit: Nicole Smith, file)