A proposed multi-use, synthetic turf sports field at Oxford High School - plus six tennis courts, a track, a drainage system, lights, bleachers, a public address system and a press box - would cost about $4.97 million.
If the town decides to go with grass over synthetic turf, the project's price tag would be reduced by $350,000, to about $4.62 million.
Those numbers were revealed during a presentation put on Tuesday night by the New Oxford School Planning and Building Committee and its architect for a high school athletic complex proposal, Milone & MacBroom of Cheshire. Arhictects and committee members, who have spent 14 months reviewing a plan for fields, presented the plans for the first time to roughly 75 people in the library/media center at Oxford High School, which opened to students on Sept. 4, 2007.
Committee members on Tuesday urged people not to have sticker shock over the high numbers, saying that when a $4 million project is broken down into a 20-year bond, the average impact on a taxpayer with a home assessed at $300,000 would be about $75 a year; a home assessed at $200,000 would see a $50 increase in taxes, committee members said. The committee also said it will likely get reimbursement money, and possibly grants, from the state to help offset the cost of construction. Engineers added that their number projections have 15 percent contingency factored into them for possible cost fluctuations, and an 8 percent increase is factored into the projections for survey, design and construction administration fees.
The prices are reflective of construction costs in 2011 and future costs are projected to increase 3-to-7-percent per year, Milone and MacBroom architects said.
The committee plans to hold public information sessions and meetings with members of the Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance before sending the proposal to a town meeting in April and to a town-wide referendum in June.
If approved, the project would be completed in August, 2014, according to an estimated time-line the committee put forth to the public.
Many of the people who spoke Tuesday were clearly in favor of the project and said they will do all they can to get it approved by voters.
Many described a situation at the high school where the football and soccer teams are sharing fields that often have standing water several hours, and sometimes days, after an average rain storm. One parent said his son, a football player, often comes home with cuts, bruises and sprained ankles because of the poor condition of the field, which was originally meant to be a practice field but was made into a competition surface due to a lack of funding.
When the high school was proposed in the early-to-mid 2000s, the original plan was put forth at $49 million for construction costs, which included money for adequate fields. After a couple of referendum defeats, that number was dropped down to about $43 million, meaning some projects, such as fields, were put on the back-burner. Currently, there are only portable bleachers on the field that seat 312 people. The proposed field would have 500 bleacher seats for home fans and 250 seats on the visitor's side. There is also a possibility of including a field house in the project, though that was not factored into cost estimates as of Tuesday night.
The committee told residents Tuesday that it is time to finish the project.
We have attached three PDFs given to us by committee members: one is a look at the field proposal, another is an estimated time-line for the project and a third is a cost estimate for the project.