NORTH ARLINGTON –
Construction of the new Rip Collins Athletic field complex in North Arlington is proceeding on schedule and should be finished by fall 2014, school officials predicted.
In a prepared press release, Schools Superintendent Oliver Stringham said that excavation work is being done to lay the groundwork and foundation for what will be the new athletic field, track and new buildings.
Stringham said construction crews (from Rochelle Contracting of Landing) are on the River Road site doing all the infrastructure work, now that the district has secured approvals from the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Joseph Ricciardelli, president of the North Arlington Board of Education, said last week, “I don’t see any reason why we won’t be playing on the new field this fall.”
“We’ve had delivery of all the irrigation materials and piping,” Ricciardelli said. “We’re putting additional drainage under what will be our new turf field and our new buildings are going to be raised an additional foot higher than what the state asked for” to offset any potential flooding from future storms over overflows from the nearby Passaic River.
Ricciardelli said the school board will, at some point, be purchasing a “Zamboni-like” machine that would be used to vacuum away any excess water and/or debris from the field as needed. “Our staff will be trained how to use it,” he added.
As an added precaution, according to board member George McDermott, the field will be covered with a large tarpaulin during the off-season for protection against the elements.
The project, funded under a $3.3 million public referendum previously approved by North Arlington voters, will provide the school district with a new artificial grass field that it can use for high school football, baseball, track and soccer, plus team locker rooms and bathrooms, a storage facility, a coach’s meeting room, concession stand, press box and scoreboard, public bathrooms, walkways and fencing.
The complex will also be available for use to the borough Recreation Department.
Ricciardelli said the board plans to “open the facility six or seven days a week for the public to walk or run on the track.” Specific hours for that purpose have yet to be set, he said.
At a special meeting April 11, the school board voted to retain Pennoni Associates, a Philadelphia-based engineering firm, “to provide professional engineering services in connection with the Synthetic Turf Fields and Fieldhouse at Rip Collins Athletic Complex Project.”
Pennoni will receive $30,500 for the work, according to Ricciardelli.
Ricciardelli said the expectation is that the firm would serve as a sort of construction clerk of the works whose representative would be on site “three or four times a week” to check in with the contractor on the status of the project.
– Ron Leir