WALLINGFORD — After receiving details on two different plans for Lyman Hall High School’s athletic complex on Monday, Buildings and Grounds Supervisor Marc Deptula is hopeful the Board of Education will approve one during a meeting next week to move the project forward.
“We’ll know more after they meet in executive session with how the board wants me to move this thing,” Deptula said. “Hopefully they have something favorable to tell me. I’d like to move forward.”
The school system has been trying to build a new athletic complex at Lyman Hall that would consist of a new track, all-weather turf field and lighting system. However, numerous factors have delayed the project — mainly issues with funding.
During an operations committee meeting Monday night, an architect presented a brief overview of the two plans for the athletic complex. Both plans consists of two phases needed to complete the project, both of which would be done during the summer.
The largest difference between the two plans is the size of the new track, according to Deptula. One plan consists of an eight-lane track, the other a six-lane track with an eight lane straightaway, Deptula said. Administrators made it a priority in the past to upgrade the track, install new lights and a lighting system, and add handicapped-accessible bathrooms. The phases of each plan may not consist of those things in that order, Deptula said, because the focus is being put on the track and field.
Board of Education member Chet Miller described one plan as having the minimum requirements, while the other had extra features that may not be needed.
“One will be what we call a minimum requirement, and the next one would be a step up, which would give us a little bit more capability if we wanted to host a state meet,” Miller said. “Fundamentally, that’s where we are right now. There’s a whole world of questions.”
The main question that still needs to be addressed is cost, Miller said. Members of the Board of Education will receive more detailed outlines of both plans this weekend, and they’ll meet in executive session during the Nov. 25 meeting to discuss cost, according to board member Michael Votto.
Deptula added that the plan consisting of the eight-lane track would be more expensive because it would require the construction company to move things out of the way to make room for it.
“It doesn’t appear there is a need for a full eight lanes. When you do that you have to move more things,” he said. “With more adjustments being made, and lights being moved, costs go up quite a bit.”
But Miller said investing in the extras may “be better in the long run.” If a person wants to invest in the extras in the future, Miller said, “then it’s (another) world of construction again.”
Whichever plan the board decides to accept, the cost to complete it will be kept private until the bidding process is complete, Deptula said.
“They generally try not to get it out on the street because it can affect the bidding,” he said. “We’ve seen it happen before, (where) there is up to 20 to 25 percent variances in the bidding because someone knows about what the town plans to budget.”
The school system has $300,000 saved by Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. to be used to replace the track, according to Deptula.
He added that there may be money from the state that would be available to use for the project.
Reps. Mary Fritz and Mary Mushinsky, both Democrats representing Wallingford, worked together to change the language of a previous state authorization for $525,000 to allow the school system to use it for maintenance on any school field. The money, however, still needs to be bonded. In addition, Votto said the town’s school system will receive a $100,000 Worrell grant to help pay for the costs of the athletic complex.
The Nov. 25 Board of Education meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Town Hall, 45 S. Main St.