SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

June 26, 2013

Bertram Field work to start next month

By Bethany Bray
STAFF WRITER

---- — SALEM — Construction should begin at Bertram Field in early July.

A contract was awarded last week to David White and Son, a New Hampshire company that bid $1.6 million to complete the renovations, including installing an artificial turf field. Construction should begin within the first two weeks of July and is slated to finish by Oct. 18.

“We’re moving this as quickly as possible,” said Lynn Duncan, director of the city’s planning and community development department.

Bertram Field, Salem High School’s main football field, has been closed since June 3 when elevated levels of arsenic were found in soil tests.

David White and Son’s bid includes the cost of excavating and removing the contaminated soil, Duncan said.

“We thought it was a very good bid. ... It falls well within our budget,” Duncan said.

More than $240,000 in additional project costs — such as contamination assessment by a licensed site professional — bring the project’s budget to nearly $1.9 million.

City councilors approved a $1.9 million bond for renovations and upgrades at Bertram Field in May. The project will give the entire complex a makeover, by installing an artificial turf field, replacing the track, scoreboard, flagpole and other features.

A state grant will cover $400,000 of the work; the city is responsible for the remaining $1.5 million.

It’s possible there will be no visitors stands when the new complex is built. The track will be expanded to regulation size of 400 meters as part of this project, which means the new track will run through where the visitors stands are currently located. They will have to be removed.

The cost of rebuilding the stands outside of the new track, which David White and Son Inc. bid at $192,500, is currently not included in the budget.

It’s possible the project’s “contingency,” a 5 percent cushion built into the budget for wiggle room, could be put toward reconstruction of the stands if it’s not needed elsewhere, Duncan said.

The contractor has agreed to have the city hold his $192,500 bid for 60 days, Duncan said.

“We’re waiting to see where we are (after 60 days),” Duncan said.

David White and Son, a Bow, N.H.-based company, specializes in construction of outdoor athletic facilities. They’ve done projects at numerous schools and universities throughout New England, including an artificial turf field and track complex at Gordon College in Wenham.

According to Mayor Kim Driscoll’s office, the process to install an artificial turf field involves excavating the soil beneath the old field, so this would have been done at Bertram Field regardless of whether arsenic had been found.

Bertram Field, behind Collins Middle School, is used by Salem High athletics, as well as youth sports programs.

Bethany Bray can be reached at bbray@salemnews.com and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.