By Kate Anslinger
It’s no secret that Miller Field is in desperate need of an upgraded design and remodel, which is why the Miller Field/Lewis Lake Task Force was at Monday night’s School Committee meeting.
Members of the 13-person committee presented several reasons for the need of the re-design, their plans involved in the project and how the field and Lewis Lake are interconnected. In addition to the fact that the field sits less than 150 feet away from the new $82 million school, the following benefits of the field project were presented:
- Ability to host conference meets which hasn’t been done since the 90’s
- A new, synthetic field which allows for use of multi-sports
- A 600-person capacity home bleacher section and 500-person capacity for away seating, both Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant
- A 3,200 square foot field house
- A synthetic surface track with six lanes and 110-meter sprint lanes
- New lighting for multi-sport usage
- New fencing for security and crowd control
- An upgraded scoreboard and sound system
- A lighted walkway between Veterans Road and Cross Street
- A new parking lot and tennis courts. Tennis courts will be located at Ingleside Park due to safety issues
- New ADA compliant sidewalks at the Cross Street entrance to field
“We’ve been talking about this for years and it’s just getting worse,” said School Committee member Ron Vecchia. “We’re doing a disservice to our kids to not give them a field they can use.”
The next step is to place a debt-exclusion override question on a ballot to fund the project. DPW head Steve Calla has already obtained a grant to begin the permitting process for Lewis Lake.
In order to save money on the project that will run between roughly $7.5-$ 9 million dollars, the task force advises on bidding the project at the same time as Lewis Lake and Veterans Road upgrades, addressing both needs at one time.
If the Miller Field project gets approved, the town has the potential to save even more money by hiring the Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational High School students to complete the construction of the field house, but they have to do it soon so the voke school
can build the project into their curriculum.
A discussion on the project has been added to the list of agenda items at the next town council meeting on Tuesday, April 26.
“Now that we have all the information, we can add it to the agenda,” said Town Council President Bob Driscoll. “It’s come a long way in the last couple months.”
If the project gets approved, bidding will begin in October and construction could start as early as November.