Rains and winter weather left no grass on an often flooded Fontana Field at Southington High School just a year ago, leading to muddy conditions that led one football game to be postponed and left the school’s powder puff team without any footing in their annual rivalry game against Cheshire High School.
But the problems of the past are about to be history.
The field is on schedule for completion by Oct. 31 and is under the $920,000 budget allotted for the project, Acting Town Engineer Jim Grappone told members of the Southington Town Council this week.
“The progress is going very well,” Grappone said. “With turf laid out, the installation of markers for teams and sporting events, a unique situation where they shave the carpet and stencils are glued into place, transpired over the last week and a half or so.”
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A beautiful new logo has been placed in the middle of the field, Grappone said, and workers are in the process of laying the remaining base, he said.
Things have gone so well, in fact, that the council was able to approve a change work order this week that allowed the town to include the installation of brand new black vinyl fencing to surround the field. The fencing was completely installed by Wednesday.
Even with the change order, the project sits at around $900,000, officials said.
“It’s really been a great project and has gone seemingly without a hitch,” Southington High School Athletic Director Eric Swallow said this week. “We’ve not done yet, but the bulk of the work is complete and we hope to have everything done by next week.”
There is one downside to the project, however. After having to cancel the 2011 “Music of the Knight” program, the biggest event of the year for the school’s marching band, the field will not be ready in time for the event this year.
Instead, Joanne Kelleher said Wednesday that the event will instead be held at Cheshire High School with the start time changed to 3 p.m. The announcement was made on the Southington High School Marching Band’s Facebook page.
“The official (Music of the Knight) start time is at 3 pm. The gates are opening approximately 2:30 p.m. due to the soccer game at the field before us,” the announcement said.
Southington Town Attorney Mark Sciota said the town had hoped to open the field in time, but was confident that the change in venue would not hinder the annual program because plans were made well in advance just in case.
“This plan was in place last September. Playing on (Fontana Field) was always Plan B,” Sciota said.
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