Imagine having to explain to Marblehead track star Shalane Flanagan, who went on to run in the Olympics, that she had to run four and a quarter times around the track to finish a mile at track meets in Salem, said O’Donnell.
“These are the types of projects I want my tax dollars going to,” said Craig Mielcarz, a 1999 SHS graduate and track standout.
This winter Salem was awarded a $400,000 state grant for upgrades at Bertram Field. The city will be responsible for paying renovation costs that exceed the grant reimbursement.
The project will give the entire Bertram Field complex a makeover, installing an artificial turf field, replacing the track, scoreboard, flagpole and other features.
Expanding the track by 30 meters to regulation size requires the removal and relocation of the visitors’ stands. While that was expected to cost about $65,000, it’s looking like relocating those stands will cost a lot more, Driscoll said.
The task has been included as an “alternate” addition to the project, so the entire project won’t be delayed if cost estimates come in over budget.
This will be ironed out once bids are collected and the city has a more concrete idea of pricing, Driscoll said.
Bertram Field, located behind Collins Middle School, is used by Salem High athletics as well as youth sports programs.
Resident Steve Dibble, whose three sons have played football at Bertram Field, said the upgrade is “important to the community as a whole. ... This is the right thing to do.”
Bethany Bray can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.