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Salem's Home Turf: FAQs

Who will use the field?

High school athletic teams, the SHS Marching Band and Color Guard will use this multi-sport field. Constructing a multi-sport field will alleviate pressure on our natural turf fields. There may be limited youth team use as well.

Why will the community benefit from a multi-sport turf field?

Recommended usage of any natural turf field is 960 hours annually, or about 2.5 hours daily.  With limited town recreation space, our fields are substantially overused.  A turf field will reduce usage of our natural turf fields and sufficiently increase the usage of Grant Field to allow greater use of natural fields for school athletics and youth group use.

Why was the decision made to renovate Grant Field and not another?

An engineering assessment provided by Huntress Associates offered several turf options.  The flexibility offered by Grant Field, its poor current turf and subsurface condition, and expenses of returning the field to game quality conditions, made the Grant Field option the most appealing and most cost effective.  Further, when renovating this field we will also renovate the high school’s track.

What will be done with the track?

The track will be rebuilt with two eight-lane straights so we can host state and regional meets.  A new ½” resilient surface will be applied, and the project will also improve additional track facilities such as the pole vault area and the long jump pits.

What activities would be conducted on Grant Field?

Field turf specialists recommend lining a turf field for no more than three sports.  Most likely, a turf field would be lined for football, soccer, and field hockey.  Our varsity level teams would play games on this field in the fall. We would also accommodate our Marching Band and Color Guard. In the spring, we anticipate placing temporary lines to accommodate our boys and girls lacrosse teams.  Use would be restricted to school activities or as recommended during the summer months.

Why not simply renovate the existing natural field and return its condition to game play conditions?

Most of our fields are overused. The School Board recognized this problem several years ago, but a lack of athletic fields for youth groups within the community has prohibited the limitation of field use without negative consequences to youth sports programming. The community wants to accommodate all youth interests to encourage involvement. A natural turf field cannot withstand a turf field’s level of use.

What if the proposal doesn’t receive sufficient votes?

Field use will be restricted to varsity and junior varsity football along with the band and color guard.  We will have to maximize opportunity for the field to rest between uses.

What is the estimated project cost?

The costs associated with the installation of turf on Grant Field, a new track, and all ancillary facility structures is $4.6 million.  This is our finance needs. The costs include expenses for engineering, design, site surveys, fencing, permitting, and miscellaneous allowances.

What is the projected timeline for this project?

For the field to be ready for play in the fall of 2019, the project must be underway in May, 2019.   The project committee will secure three bid estimates from reputable companies that have engaged these types of projects in the past.  After awarding the project, contractor design and planning will be followed by construction to take place through the summer and into the fall.

Who will contribute to the effort?

We will seek voter approval for the entire project cost. The overall expense will be offset by revenue from businesses, private individuals, athletic trust revenue, and other revenue sources we find.  All alternative revenue will reduce the tax impact.

Will the effort accept alternatives to cash donations?

Absolutely, the campaign will accept gifts of stocks and bonds or other negotiable securities. Regrettably, the campaign cannot accept goods or service.

Are gifts tax-deductible?

Yes.  The campaign is working under the umbrella of the Salem First Corporation, a 501 (c)(3) organization recognized by New Hampshire and the I.R.S.  Consequently, all gifts are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.  It is important for all those giving to the campaign to consult their tax/financial advisors to determine the most advantageous way to make the investment.

Are opportunities available for Naming or Memorial Gifts?

Yes.  The campaign has gift opportunities.  Anyone interested in a naming opportunity should contact the Superintendent of Schools at 893-7040. Final approval of naming will rest with the Salem School Board.

Why not renovate Woodbury School first?

This project was conceived many years ago and the School Board planned to request funds after the high school project passed.  The school district has funds for a track replacement but cannot hold the funds forever.  The Board further believes it’s best to include the complex renovation and replacement as a stand-alone proposition and further believes that offsetting additional revenue will keep the tax impact low.  Finally, the facilities are beyond their useful lives and cannot sustain any more use without significant district liability.

Why was this project not included with the high school?

The high school project request voter support for more than $73 million. Everyone believed at the time that an additional $4.6 million for a outdoor athletic complex project would risk the entire high school and career center project.  The prudent thing was to delay a field complex project. In hindsight, the project would have passed, but we did not know that when planning began.

Won’t fixing drainage be enough?

Fixing the drainage problem will require removing the field and the track entirely.  It will require an entirely new soil base and then new natural turf and the new track.  This work will not provide a playing surface that will afford the playing time or the durability for more than the sport of football. This solution will not move varsity sports off other natural turf fields and allow improved playing surfaces for middle school and youth athletics.

Do turf fields cause cancer?

Some people have accused synthetic turf field companies of providing unsafe and unhealthy products.  There simply is no evidence to support these claims, and these surfaces have been installed in the immediate area and across the nation.

Is this a cost prohibitive plan?

The cost for a homeowner with a home assessed at $300,000 will be less than $32.00 per year. This is less than $3.00 per month for new facilities that will be handicapped accessible; provide safe track and field surfaces for broad groups of athletes and community members, and is much more affordable than the piecemeal efforts made for years to keep only the field surface barely playable.  The track, bleachers, press box, concession stand, and restrooms all need to be replaced, and this is the most affordable strategy for everyone.

 

What other schools that our students compete against have turf fields?

Our students play at the following high schools that have turf fields:

  • Bedford High
  • Derryfield School – Boys Lacrosse
  • Exeter High
  • Hanover High – Boys Lacrosse/Boys Soccer
  • Manchester Schools – All four high schools play on turf
  • Nashua – High Schools North – South – and Bishop Guertin – all play at Stellos Stadium.
  • Portsmouth High
  • Souhegan High – Boys/Girls Lacrosse
  • Pinkerton – Pinkerton Academy has a turf field under construction.
Where can individuals find further information about the campaign?

Individuals should contact the office of the Superintendent of Schools at 893-7040 or email the Superintendent at mdelahanty@sau57.org.