NORTH ATTLEBORO — Representatives from the architect, manufacturer and others will be at the high school’s turf field on Tuesday to determine how much it will cost to repair damage from weightlifting activity over the summer and how soon the costly facility can be returned to community use.
A representative of the designers of the field, installed at the high school in 2018, said he thought the damage could be repaired “rather quickly,” although the cost remains a question mark.
High school Principal Peter Haviland told members of the school committee Monday night that the damage evidently happened when athletes — including members of the Rocketeer football team — were trying to keep in shape before school reopened in the fall, following the pandemic lockdown.
“None of it was done with any level of carelessness,” Haviland told the school board members. But “our field was not designed to absorb that kind of use.”
“Lessons learned,” he said.
Superintendent Scott Holcomb pointed out that the damage to the field “wasn’t born out of some of something malicious.” He will be updating the public and the school committee on the next steps needed.
Luke McCoy, a representative of Kaestel Boos Associates, who designed $1.2 million Ray Beaupre Jr. Field, told school committee members he did not think the repairs — which consist of divots left by the weights — would be “major.”
Holcomb also had some good news for the committee on another issue that’s been a point of debate in town for many years.
“We have the option to offer universal, free kindergarten” for at least the next two and possibly three school years, he said.
The district waived its $3,000 fee this year during hybrid learning and school board members had said they wanted to continue that in the future.
But that plan was not part of the school budget of nearly $45.3 million approved by the town manager, which will provide “level services” for next year, Holcomb said. However, he said the district could make use of federal grant funds.
Town Manager Michael Borg said there is a possibility of adding $100,000 to the school budget to help cover the costs when going before the council’s finance subcommittee.
Ethan Hamilton, chairman of the school committee, echoed the sentiments of other members.
“We are right on the cusp of having universal free kindergarten,” he said. “This is moving in the right direction.”
Town council is due to vote on a final version of the budget in June.