AVON, Nov. 3 – The town of Avon continues to move forward with a proposal to install a synthetic turf field at Avon High School.
The Avon Town Council endorsed a $4.6 million proposal to upgrade athletic facilities at Avon High School Thursday night and will forward the initiative to the Board of Education for their comment and approval.
The proposal includes a synthetic turf field on the site of the current football field, a new eight-lane track and field facility, new bleachers that seat 1,000 fans, a press box, plant buffers for neighbors on West Avon Road and Sudbury Way and a synthetic turf field on the current field hockey field.
The initiative does not include lights around the main field. But it will include conduit so that lights could be installed at the future date.
Once the Town Council and Board of Education reach an agreement on the scope of the project, then the town can begin the process to obtain money to pay for the project.
At a recent Town Council meeting in October, State Senator Kevin Witkos (R-Canton) said that the town can’t move forward and try to secure state funding until the project is final and defined.
Town Manager Brandon Robertson said the town is anticipating three sources of funds to help pay for this project – town funding, state funding and money from local fundraising efforts. This was used to help pay for the recent expansion project at the Avon Free Public Library.
In October, Witkos said that the state has helped 15 projects in the last 10 years to help install synthetic turf fields at the cost of $13.7 million. Most have been through the Bond Commission but some towns have received money from the Small Town Economic Assistance Program.
Farmington received $500,000 for its new field in 2014 while Torrington received $2.97 million in 2013 for a new field and track and field complex at their high school. In 2016, Derby received $2.9 million for a new field while Wallington received $250,000.
Much of the discussion around the upgrades was about the use of the new fields and the impact of noise and lights. School neighbors would like to see a defined policy in place for use of the new facilities. Council members said the Board of Education would draw up such a policy.
The proposal endorsed by the Council including use policies that limit night games to just 15 a year and no night games from December through March.
Neighbors are also concerned about sound from the public address system and proposal calls for a $30,000 sound system to help reduce noise into the neighborhoods by directing it toward the spectators.
Aside from this proposal, the neighbors would also like to designate a contact person at Avon High to call if there is an incident today. For example, neighbors were upset about noise from the public address system at the recent Avon and Northwest Catholic football game on a Friday night. But there was no one to address their concerns to during the game.
Coated crumb rubber would be used as the fill between the blades of plastic grass on the two fields. Simsbury used coated crumb rubber when they refurbished their synthetic turf field over the summer.
Football, field hockey, soccer and lacrosse could be played on the main complex field. The small field could be used for field hockey and practices.
- November 2016: Town Council to consider finalizing a proposal to install two synthetic turf fields at Avon High and build an eight-lane track.
- September 2016: The Town Council and Board of Education hold a joint public hearing to comment about the proposal. Recreation and Park subcommittee proposal for Avon High, September 2016
- August 2016: Recreation and Park subcommittee meets throughout the summer and comes up with a proposal.
- May 2016: Subcommittee of Recreation and Parks work with the town architect and Board of Education staff to begin work on their recommendation.
- April 2016: Town Council decides to appoint a committee to come up with a final proposal for upgrading facilities at Avon High. Votes to spend $30,000 to modify plans to address issues with the proposal at the high school.
- December 2015: Board of Education hears proposal to upgrade athletic facilities at Avon High.
- June 2015: Town Council hears $3.21 million proposal to upgrade athletic facilities at Avon High by rebuilding tack and installing two synthetic turf fields.
- April 2015: Subcommittee of the Recreation and Park committee recommend $3.21 million proposal to upgrade athletic facilities at Avon High by rebuilding tack and installing two synthetic turf fields.
- November 2014: Architect provides town with two proposals for athletic complex on 15.25 acre parcel on Thompson Brook Road at site of former M.H. Rhodes Company, adjacent to the bike trail. Town Council asks for estimates for similar complex at the high school.
- February 2014: Town Council unanimously votes to spend $40,000 for an architect to draw up plans to build a synthetic turf field and recreation complex on Thompson Brook Road
- November 2013: Seventy people attend Avon Student Athletic Park Steering Committee meeting