MERIDEN — City officials are considering bonding $1.8 million for renovations to the tracks and athletic fields at Platt and Maloney high schools.
The project, which won approval from the School Building Committee this week, calls for replacing the aging and cracking tracks and also installing synthetic turf athletic fields.
The work is estimated to cost about $4 million in total, according to cost estimates provided this week by Milone & MacBroom, an engineering firm commissioned to design the project.
The city plans to offset the cost with $2.2 million left over from the recent renovations of Platt and Maloney, meaning an additional $1.8 million would need to be bonded by the city, according to Mike Grove, assistant superintendent for technology and operations. The city will also be eligible to receive around $1.2 million in reimbursements from the state, Grove said.
The School Building Committee’s recommendation now goes to the City Council’s Finance Committee, which is scheduled to discuss the project at its Sept. 24 meeting and send a recommendation to the City Council, Finance Committee Chairman Brian Daniels said.
The tracks, built in 1990, have well exceeded their 20-year life expectancy. Grove said a study completed four years ago found that the tracks can’t be resurfaced because the material beneath the track is so deteriorated.
“The tracks are 30 years old, we don't have a choice. They're not safe,” Daniels said. “…It’s a matter of when, but it certainly has to get done, and it probably should have gotten done five years ago.”
If the project gets City Council approval in the coming weeks, Grove said construction would begin in April and last 18 weeks, meaning it would be completed before the start of next school year.
John Lineen, chairman of the School Building Committee, said the tracks are “heavily used” by the schools and people in the community who run or walk on the track.
“I think it'll be good for the city,” Lineen said.
“The tracks on both sides are highly used by the residents in each area,” Daniels said. “If you go down to the track any time after work, you will see people, especially during the summer, walking or jogging.”
The city received permission from the state to use the money leftover from the school renovation projects. Both projects, which were state-funded and cost a combined $220 million, came in under budget. There is $1.9 million left from Platt renovations and $300,000 left from the Maloney upgrades. Because the projects were state-funded, the city would have to return the money to the state if it is not spent.
The track at Platt has eight lanes, while Maloney’s track has eight lanes on the straightaways and six lanes on the curves due to spacing constraints. Construction of a new track at Platt is projected to cost $615,000, while the Maloney work will cost $550,000, according to Milone & MacBroom. The new turf fields, including new football goal posts, will cost $360,000 at each school. Other costs associated with the project include earthwork and grading, and drainage and utility improvements.