Rolling out synthetic turf fields in Hopkinton

24 October 2017

After a year of planning for synthetic turf fields at the middle and high schools, school officials are hoping to get the nod from Town Meeting to start building this summer.

At a forum last week, Athletic Director Dee King said the district hopes to start construction in the summer and have the fields ready for fall sports.

The School Committee approved a feasibility study last summer. The work is being done by consultant Gale Associates.

The first phase will include fields four and five in back of the main football field. The fields will be designed for football, soccer, fields hockey, lacrosse, baseball and softball, according to Kathy Hervol of Gale Associates.

The second phase will require expanding the track to install a turf field on the main football field, among other improvements. The third phase will include a building that could provide storage, concessions and restrooms.

Why now? King said the field availability at the schools is tight and the turf fields will allow for extended use.

“This would hopefully provide an opportunity for all our facilities to be used but not to feel tightened and constrained all the time,” she said.

It will also allow for flexibility with weather for spring tryouts.

“It would extend seasonal field usage,” King said. “Other towns are utilizing their turf fields when it is raining, we are canceling games.”

Of 11 teams in the Tri-Valley League, only three are without (artificial surface fields), King said. That mean Hopkinton athletes have a competitive disadvantage.

“We want to be competitive within our league and have state-of-the-art facilities,” she said.

The cost: The estimate cost of the first phase will be $3.8 million, according to Hervol. The fields will include improved drainage, handicap accessibility, lighting, portable bleachers and a storage building.

Hervol said fields four and five were selected for the town to get the most “bang for its buck.” The field will be about 165,000 square feet.

“A regular turf field is about 85,000 square feet. We are basically getting two fields,” she said.

School officials say the fields will able able to bring in additional revenue if rented out to outside groups.

Timeline: The Conservation Commission has already started its review of the project, Hervol said. The group hopes to go out for bids right after a Town Meeting and subsequent debt-exclusion override vote to pay for the project.