PLYMOUTH SOUTH HIGH
SCHOOL FIELDS

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On April 1, 2017, at its Spring Annual Town Meeting, Town Meeting members will review and decide on many important articles.  The information shown on these pages provides information relative to the Plymouth South High School sports fields.

Field Options

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As we prepare for Phase 3 of the building project—the construction of multiuse fields B and C, we are in need of determining the surface to be installed on these multi use fields. The following information delineates the cost for turf and lighting for fields B and C, and the funding options for turf and lighting to be installed, which should help inform the decision whether to move forward with turf fields or seeded fields.

As a result of the value of the Plymouth North High School, the Council on Aging and the Plymouth South High School projects reaching the cap of $199 Million of project value, we face a budget deficit that has caused the Plymouth Building Committee to seek alternate funding in order to complete the project as specified in the initial plans submitted to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) and shared with the community in 2012.

PSHS Field Explanation Video

COSTS

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In preparing the budget and schedule for the PSHS project, we quickly realized that the cost per square foot for PSHS was significantly increased since the time we prepared the budget and constructed Plymouth North High School (PNHS). The square foot cost for PNHS was $304.08 per square foot. The square foot cost for PSHS came in at $434.54. Due to the increase in square footage cost, the Building Committee made the decision to place the PSHS turf fields B and C and the appropriate field lighting as Bid Alternates. The turf fields and lights were included in the initial project scope and were budgeted in the amount of $3,998,000.00 (actual bid numbers for Alternates #4 and #5). Our strategy to address this proposal is to apply the remaining contingency funds at completion of the project towards the Alternates #4 and #5 and the additional borrowing capacity would allow completion of the overall scope of the project.

Plymouth North High School
Plymouth North High School

Cost per square foot – $304.08
(2012)

Plymouth South High School
Plymouth South High School

Cost per square foot – $434.54
(2017)

Explanation of why the cost of the project described in the debt exclusion now exceeds the amount stated…

  • In 2006, the citizens of the Town of Plymouth voted a $199,000,000 debt exclusion for the purpose of constructing two high schools and one senior center. The portion of the funding for the high schools was contingent upon first receiving funding approval from Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA).
  • Plymouth was allowed to submit only one project at a time for MSBA consideration and funding. Plymouth submitted Plymouth North High School (PNHS) as the district’s top priority. PNHS was approved and funded by MSBA.
  • At the same time, the Council on Aging facility was constructed on the same site as North High. Both projects began in 2010 and were completed in 2012 (excluding fields).
  • The MSBA set a maximum amount that was reimbursable for site work (including fields). As such, turf fields were included in the project and the bid, but as an add item to the base bid.
  • The turf fields, including lighting, were completed at North High in 2013.
  • In November 2013, after the completion of PNHS, the Board of Selectmen, School Building Committee, and the Plymouth School Committee voted to submit the Feasibility Study and related materials to the MSBA for its consideration of a new PSHS. The MSBA approved the project and the Town of Plymouth prepared to send out bid packages. The bid specification included turf fields and lighting as an add item to the base bid as previously mentioned. The low bid was substantially higher than the PNHS project. The same MSBA limitations were in place for the South High School project, a fixed amount for site work. Due to the length of time from vote to construction and increases in construction costs, the Town was unable to fit the turf fields and lighting into the original $199 Million debt exclusion funding.
Turf Field B & C
$3.1 Million
TURF FIELD B & C
The associated costs to install turf on fields B and C will include all drainage features necessary to support turf as well as other field requirements. The total cost for the installation is $3.1 Million.
Lighting
$1 Million
LIGHTING
The cost for providing lighting for fields B and C is $1 Million. The installation will provide lighting to both fields, will be the most energy efficient available, and will meet all Zoning Bylaws.
Funding Mechanism
- $1 Million
FUNDING MECHANISM
The school department has prepared a funding mechanism allowing for a solar power generation plan that will fund the installation of necessary solar and lighting equipment for these multi use fields. By introducing this funding model for field lighting, we will be able to remove this portion of the request for additional funding from the project.
Total Cost
$3.1 Million
TOTAL COST
The total cost of the project is $4.1 million, however after saving $1 million on the funding mechanism for the lights, the new total is $3.1 million. The contingency fund will reduce that total by $1.5 - $1.8 million leaving the amount borrowed to land between $1.3 - $1.6 million.

FUNDING

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Within the project we have experienced a minimal change order demand, and to date we find we are fortunate to have processed minimal change orders—less than 1% of the total construction costs. However, the project will not be complete until September of 2018 after completion of demolition, site work and ballfields. The risk for change orders is diminishing as the building nears completion and as we move to complete the remaining site work. The Building Committee’s intent is to reconcile the remaining contingency and apply these remaining funds to assist in addressing Alternates #4 and #5.

The total cost for the turf at Plymouth South High School fields B and C is $3.1 Million. As we approach substantial completion of the project, we estimate that we will have contingency funds available to apply to the cost of fields B and C. These funds will not be available until the close of the project. Once the project is closed in September of 2018, available contingency funds are certified and will be applied to the cost of the fields. We are estimating that we will have between $1.5 and $1.8 Million available to apply to the cost of the fields. This would reduce the overall balance for the increased borrowing to between $1.6 and $1.3 Million.

BORROWED MONEY

$1.3 – $1.6 Million

CONTINGENCY FUND

$1.5 – $1.8 Million

total cost

$3.1 Million

NEXT STEPS

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Within Massachusetts General Law, there is a provision (Ch. 59 §§ 21C(k) and 21D) that permits a municipality to consider increasing borrowing for a building project as a result of increased construction costs since the passage of the initial debt exclusion. The request for Board of Selectmen approval and subsequent Town Meeting vote is to exercise this option within Mass General Law. The request to Town Meeting would be to  raise the borrowing ability by $3.1 Million to cover the cost of the multi use turf fields B and C. Use of the remaining project contingency available at the close of the project in September 2018 would assist in paying off the increased debt of $3.1 Million. By exercising the option of increasing borrowing capacity as well as applying remaining contingency to the cost of the turf, the Town would actually borrow the remaining balance of between $1.3 and $1.6 Million.

SPRING TOWN MEETING

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COMMUNITY IMPACT

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BENEFITS TO COMMUNITY

Youth groups will see many more options for practice and game times with increased allowable usage time

PSHS ATHLETICS

Plymouth South High School athletics will be able to resume in the Fall of 2018 on the Plymouth South campus.

Artificial Turf Fields (2018)

  • Turf and lights allow all programs to remain on the South High campus immediately upon completion.
  • Community youth groups will see many more options for practice and game times with increased allowable usage time.
  • Irrigation, fertilization, and landscaping is unnecessary. Minimal upkeep of fields would be needed. A dramatic cost savings would be realized.
  • Improved safety for all field users. Wet fields that are degraded due to overuse can result in increased injuries.
  • Accessibility increases with the ability to play in any weather condition. Accessibility due to increased usability precludes the need to reduce the numbers of junior varsity contests.
  • Equity increases for all students and youth programs in Plymouth regardless of residency in northern or southern Plymouth.
  • Capability of increased facility rentals to outside groups provides revenue source to be applied to maintenance of fields.

Seeded Grass Fields – Short-Term (Germination and Establishment – 2017-2020):

  • South High teams will not have access to home fields for a minimum of two additional years. Germination requires a minimum of two years to establish for field playability.
  • Community youth group weekend access to North High fields would be severely limited with continued use by South High teams.
  • The current practice of South High girls and boys freshmen soccer, junior varsity soccer, junior varsity field hockey, varsity field hockey, junior varsity and varsity baseball, junior varsity and varsity softball, and lacrosse teams utilizing North High fields and Forges Field would continue.
  • The limitations of Forges Field include:- the inability to practice/play on weekends;- the need to limit (reduce) the number of junior varsity games due to lack of field availability;- the requirement to be off the fields at 4:30 p.m. on non-game days and high school dismissed at 2:05 p.m. mandates a shorter window of time for non-game day schedules;- the added expense of a daily shuttle to Forges Field for student athletes who, when staying for extra help or other reasons, may miss the shuttle and, essentially, miss practice;- the increased expenses resulting from the late opening dates of April 1 st (Spaces at the Plymouth Sports Complex [Jungleplex] and local batting cages are rented for the first two weeks of the season.).

Seeded Grass Fields – Long-Term (2020 and Beyond):

  • Outfields used for daily practices in the fall and spring seasons will have no rest times for recuperation or window of time for reseeding before the spring season.
  • In most cases, fields will not be available before April 1 st.
  • Community youth groups would not be allowed to use fields for practice or games to avoid overuse.
  • Maintenance of grass fields is costly, requiring perpetual care (mowing, edging, fertilizing, spraying and growth regulator, top dressing, aeration, over-seeding and thatch control, sod replacement and replanting) and constant reapplication of game lines.
  • Continued overuse of Town facilities would lead to more expenses and deterioration of fields. (The school department currently provides a measure of funding in support of these fields, yet deterioration is inevitable with excessive use.)
  • Use of North High fields by South High teams on poor weather days ultimately displaces community youth groups.

2017

PSHS Construction Project

2018

Turf Fields

2020

Seeded Grass Fields
  • Currently we are on the new turf roughly 36 hours a week 2:30pm - 8:30pm Monday through Friday plus 6 hours on the weekend. In a 2 1/2 week period we get more use out of the turf than we did an entire year on the grass stadium. (74 Hours) When playing on grass – there were approximately 18 soccer games and 12 football = 30 games – which equal approximately 60 hours of use for an entire year.

    Scott Fry
    Scott Fry Athletic Director at Plymouth South High School
  • I've been involved with Plymouth fields since I was a kid and there has always been a shortage of recreational fields throughout town. The rapid expansion of Plymouth the past 25 years has resulted in a more pronounced shortage of fields. There is a constant struggle between all of the youth organizations as well as high school athletes find adequate field time for practice and games. The town has done their very best to accommodate all of the groups, however, there is only so much that they can do based on the limited inventory. The shortage of fields impacts high schools as well as all of the youth programs below the high school level in that they are often competing for the same fields at the same times. The benefits to having turf Fields at PSHS include virtually unlimited practice and game time not impacted by the weather, parity with PNHS, Increased availability to youth leagues, lower maintenance costs, no off season, and retrofitting the field in the future will be much more costly than it is to do it right the first time

    Brian Nolan
    Brian Nolan Plymouth Community Member
TURF FIELDS

Community youth groups will see many more options for practice and game times

Fields would be ready by Fall 2018 allowing PSHS athletics to compete on the Plymouth South Campus

Improved safety for field users

Ability to play in any weather condition

Irrigation, fertilization, and landscaping is unnecessary

GRASS FIELDS

Youth groups would not be able to use to prevent over use

Fields would not be ready until Fall 2020

Fields will not be open until after April 1 of each year

Community youth group access would be severely limited to North fields with continued use by South High Teams

Maintenance of grass fields is costly, requiring perpetual care and constant application of game lines

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PLYMOUTH TOWN MEETING

Saturday • April 1, 2017 • 8 a.m.

41 Obery St, Plymouth, MA 02360

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