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NLS synthetic turf project gets final approval

Carolyn Lange / Tribune An artist's rendering shows the synthetic turf football field that will be installed this summer at the New London-Spicer High School in New London.

NEW LONDON — Bids to install synthetic turf at the New London-Spicer football field were unanimously approved Monday, along with bids to install a new track that circles the field and a new road for buses that will link the elementary and middle schools.

The total $1.6 million bid package for the three projects was within the $1.8 million estimate.

The wildcard could be soil corrections, with the possibility that the $161,023 bid for adjusting the soil on the road base and football field could be exceeded.

The low bidder was Duininck Inc. of Prinsburg.

"The bids were very good," said Mike DeVetter, from DeVetter Design Group, which is also working on the $20.6 million building project underway at NLS. "You've had good fortune out here."

John Vraa, NLS athletic director, said he was pleased with bid and the interest rate on the lease levy that will provide key funding.

Work is expected to begin May 15.

The first phase involves peeling away the sod on the football field and replacing the heavy, compacted clay soil with sand.

An underground drain system will be installed in a herringbone pattern across the field to wick water to the edge of the field where a tile will carry water to an outlet on the north end, said Jeremy Anderson, from Design Tree Engineering of Alexandria, who has designed installation of synthetic turf at other Minnesota high schools.

The school is working with the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed district to get permission to discharge the water into a wetland, Anderson said.

Because the water will be draining through a layer of sand and trickling over a rock bed before going into the wetland, Anderson said much of the sediment and phosphorous will be removed before the water is discharged.

With the synthetic turf, he said, there will be no fertilizer residue in the water runoff.

A pond near the elementary school will hold water that is discharged from the new road, he said.

The synthetic turf will include the name of the school mascot, Wildcats, on each end. Currently, crews paint the stripes and logo prior to football games.

The NLS School Board agreed to pursue a synthetic turf because the field can be used for multiple purposes — including physical education classes and other sports — even during wet conditions.

Currently, the football field is used primarily for varsity games.

Having the field available for student use throughout the day will also make up for field space that will be lost with construction of the new bus road.

Pending the final cost for soil corrections, a $104,000 bid alternate to create an outdoor plaza by the field could be added back into the project. That decision likely won't be made until mid-June.

The projects are expected to be done by Aug. 15.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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