“(This is) the fruits of a team effort,” she said, “and an incredible Christmas gift.”
In Salem, Bertram Field is property of the public school department. To accept the grant, the property must be under city control.
This means the schools will have to cede control of Bertram Field, such as scheduling and maintenance, to the parks and recreation department, said School Committee Member Nate Bryant.
The School Committee is expected to discuss the issue at its next meeting on Jan. 7.
“We’ve always had a great relationship with parks and rec, and I can’t imagine that changing,” Bryant said.
The Bertram Field renovation is expected to cost over $1 million. Salem City Planner Tom Devine wrote the grant application.
It’s hard to say when renovations could begin, said Driscoll; it’s most likely they would have to be scheduled around the school year.
Designs for the project need to be finalized before the work contract can go out to bid, she said.
“This (grant) is a big help to make some upgrades — just to be able to get so much more use (out of the complex),” Driscoll said.
Bryant has first-hand knowledge of the need for improvement at Bertram Field. He has one daughter who plays soccer at Salem High School, and another daughter, now in college, who ran track at SHS.
“There are some schools in our conference who refused to compete on our track, that’s how bad it is,” Bryant said. “It has cracks, it’s in desperate need of repair ... I’m definitely in support of (accepting the grant).”
The switch to artificial turf will save on upkeep costs, Bryant added.
Salem Youth Lacrosse has requested permission to use Bertram Field and spoke in support of the PARC grant at a previous School Committee meeting, said Artie Sullivan, a coach with the league.