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Committee seeks cost of putting in new turf field at Avon High

Canton and Avon battle  in football on the grass at Avon High in 2009.

Canton and Avon battle in football on the grass at Avon High in 2009.

AVON, April 14 – A Recreation and Park subcommittee has selected a potential design for a multi-purpose synthetic turf field that could be built at Avon High School and has asked an architectural firm for an estimate on how much it would cost to build.

Glastonbury-based BSC Group presented four proposals to the subcommittee Tuesday morning for a synthetic turf field at the high school. The committee selected a proposal that would place an artificial turf field to replace the current football field.

In order to safely play soccer, lacrosse and field hockey on the field, the current six-lane track would have to be replaced and the consultant recommended an eight-lane track to replace it. There isn’t enough room to safely fit a soccer field within the current track and field design. 

The design for a proposal for a new turf and track facility at Avon High.

The design for a proposal for a new turf and track facility at Avon High.

The BSC representative was confident that this proposed turf field and new track could fit within the current campus footprint without disrupting current parking lots. Bleachers could be upgraded and a press box could be added to the current grandstand. Infrastructure work for potential lights in the future could also be done at this time.

Committee members asked BSC to return in two weeks for an evening meeting on Tuesday, April 28, at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall with an estimated cost. Committee members also asked for the cost of replacing the current grass field hockey field with a synthetic turf field. The public will be invited to comment.

Once the committee has finalized its proposal, it will be forwarded to the Town Council for consideration.

Three other proposals brought forth by BSC on Tuesday were

  • a turf field and a six-lane track facility,
  • a turf field and eight lane track facility with the majority of bleachers and the press box closer to the current parking lot and baseball field and
  • a proposal to put in a 70-yard wide soccer field and all-weather baseball field to replace a current practice field and baseball diamond. 

The town has been examining proposals for synthetic turf fields for the past year. Last fall, BSC Group provided the town with two proposals for an athletic complex that could be built on a 15.25-acre parcel on Thompson Brook Road at the site of the former M.H. Rhodes Company, adjacent to the bike trail.

One proposal that included a multi-use synthetic turf field, a second natural grass field, bleachers that could seat up to 1,000 fans, a home and visitor locker room, public restrooms and a press box is estimated to cost a little over $5 million. There would be parking for 250 vehicles. An eight-lane track was included an earlier design but dropped because there wasn’t enough space.

An alternative project that would a second synthetic turf field, a playscape and lighting to potential overflow parking at nearby Thompson Brook School would cost a little over $6 million. The Recreation and Park subcommittee considered 12 potential designs.

In February 2014, the Town Council unanimously voted to appropriate $40,000 for an architect to draw up plans. Plans for the proposed park picked up steam in the fall of 2013 when the Avon Student Athletic Park Steering Committee met with 70 people attending one informational session.

Granby opened a new athletic complex at its high school in September 2013 with a new synthetic turf field surrounded by an eight-lane track. There is also an adjacent synthetic turf practice field. Canton constructed and opened a new synthetic turf facility with an eight-lane track in November 2013 as part of a reconfiguration of its parking lot at the high school.

Farmington replaced its football field last summer with a new synthetic turf field. Simsbury upgraded its synthetic turf field and refurbished its track in August 2014. They installed its turf field in 2005.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years.

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