METRO WEST DAILY NEWS – After months of planning and preparation, construction on a new athletic complex featuring the city’s first synthetic turf field recently got underway.
Earlier this month, crews from Quirk Construction erected construction fencing around the project site at Whitcomb Middle School and began installing erosion controls and a temporary ramp from the track to the softball field. Crews have also begun conducting some excavation work, said Mark Dascoli, associate city engineer.
“It’s a lot of prep work,” he said.
Dascoli anticipates the excavation work will ramp up shortly and crews will begin grading work for the bleachers soon.
“It will be a couple more weeks until there is noticeable progress,” he said.
Construction is expected to continue throughout the spring and summer with the goal of completing the project in time for the fall sports season, said Dascoli.
Last spring, the City Council signed off on a $3.8 million bond for the new athletic complex, which will feature a new four-lane track, bleachers and a synthetic turf field made of crumb rubber infill.
With the synthetic turf field able to sustain more use than natural grass fields, city officials believe the project will offer more flexibility for recreation.
Over the winter, the City Council approved a bid for the synthetic turf field using crumb rubber infill.
After a recent NBC News report detailed research by a collegiate women’s soccer coach who compiled a list of more than 30 American soccer players who developed cancer after playing on turf surfaces with crumb rubber infill, some city councilors requested the city seek bids for both crumb rubber infill and an organic cork and coconut hull compound.
The low bid for the field with crumb rubber infill was $3.2 million. Combined with $212,795 in design costs and $264,158 for field lights, the cost of the project climbs to $3.7 million, leaving slightly more than $90,000 for contingency.
The low bid for the organic infill compound was $3.6 million, which when combined with design and field light costs exceeded the bond authorization by $350,000.
While discussing the project with city officials last year, representatives from Activitas, a firm hired to make recommendations for the project, said the Connecticut Department of Health released a statement claiming there is no evidence linking crumb rubber infill and cancer.
Officials with Activitas also said there have been no scientific studies that found crumb rubber infill causes cancer.
This article by Jeff Malachowski originally appeared here.