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Hartford Gets Status Report On Rec Plans

Architect Updates Selectboard And School Board on Projects

Hartford — The Selectboard and School Board heard updates on four of the five projects that are being financed by the multi-million bond issue that voters approved in March.

David Laurin, project architect, explained three of the four projects are still in the permit application phase.

Improvements to the Wendell A. Barwood Arena and installation of a new synthetic field and track at the high school are on schedule to have their applications submitted by Aug. 26. Those include water/wastewater and storm water permits, Act 250 permits and submittal of project applications to the town’s Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Adjustment for review and approval.

He said he hopes to have the same permits for the new field house at the high school submitted by the Aug. 26 deadline, as well.

∎ Hartford Memorial Middle School Upgrade: Of the four projects discussed Tuesday, the one that sits a few steps ahead of the others is upgrades to the middle school, which include an overhaul of the gymnasium floor, new bleachers, refurbished locker rooms, a revamped cafeteria and kitchen, and an addition off the existing building that will include a new stairway.

Laurin said demolition on interior projects, such as taking down walls and removing concrete flooring, are expected to begin Monday.

“The idea is to get the inside demolition done before school starts,” he said.

Excavation work will start outside of the building “in a couple of weeks” in preparation for the new exit stairway, and will be “fenced off” for safety reasons when school is back in session.

∎ Wendell A. Barwood Arena: Cosmetic and infrastructure upgrades will be made to the existing arena. Laurin said if the permits are approved, he hopes to have the utility work — water, sewer and electric — for the arena project, which will also feed the field house and track and field lighting, out to bid by mid September and to receive those bids back by mid October.

He said the utility work will not commence until after Nov. 1, when fall sports are concluding.

Work on the interior of the building will be tackled when winter sports are completed, he added. Interior changes include new locker rooms for athletic teams, a paint job, new L.E.D lighting and a new roof.

∎ Track and AstroTruf Field: A running track will be constructed and an AstroTurf field will be installed as the larger components of the project. Construction manager, DEW Construction, of Williston, Vt., which is overseeing the middle school renovations, field house and track and field projects, is currently soliciting bids from vendors on materials to be used on the track and field surfaces. Laurin said he expects the bids to be returned in three weeks. Ground won’t be broken until after Nov. 1.

∎ Field House: A field house will be built between the arena and the existing pool. The current weight and exercise equipment that has been located in half of the middle school cafeteria will be moved to the field house, thus allowing the cafeteria to double in size. The field house will also be used for additional locker room space. The building is going through the permit application process, and Laurin said the plan is to simultaneously complete documents for construction work, such as soliciting bids for contractors, by this fall.

Building permit applications are also being sought for the arena and field house projects.

Costs weren’t discussed Tuesday as Superintendent Tom DeBalsi said in an earlier interview that “all those figures aren’t in yet.”

Physically separate from, but incorporated in the same bond, is a fifth project — the Maxfield property — which encompasses gravel walking and jogging paths, baseball and softball diamonds, tennis courts and basketball courts, among other things. An update wasn’t given on the project Tuesday, but Parks and Recreation Director Tad Nunez said Wednesday nothing out of the ordinary has happened and the project is on schedule.

“Lots of dirt is being moved,” Nunez said. Last month Conway, N.H.-based Alvin J. Coleman & Son broke ground on the recreation facility.

School Board Member Jeff Arnold raised the question Tuesday night of where the middle school students will participate in athletic activities while the gym is being renovated.

Superintendent DeBalsi said the middle school students will use the high school gymnasium when necessary, and also take advantage of outside space.

DeBalsi also advised both boards to not overthink a schedule for field usage once they’ve been built.

“It comes back to the same thing, we have a mutual investment here, and we are going to share,” DeBalsi said. “(We are) providing for the recreation needs of the community.”

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.