$67,000 spent to improve storm-water drainage at new LHS athletic complex

LACONIA — After a setback of about two weeks and $67,000, School District Business Administrator Ed Emond told the Joint Building Committee yesterday that there are no more issues with the new playing fields behind the high school.

Emond said the additional money went to pay for drainage, tipping the new road to direct storm water runoff to a swale and creating an overflow dam at Bank of New Hampshire Stadium.

"Everything is really set up and we are in a good position to protect the field," said Emond.

The drainage problems with the fields were two-fold.

Initially, the subsurface of Jim Fitzgerald Field — the primary playing field that will be covered with synthetic turf — was not absorbing water at the required rate. The cost of removing most of the material and changing the mixture to fix the drainage was the responsibility of the contractors.

Secondly, drainage from the upper field (Bobotas Field) was inadequate during heavy downpours, leading to washouts.

The Fitzgerald Field drainage issues were known before the torrential rains over the weekend before the July 4 holiday. However, the damage to the drainage system around the fields came as a complete surprise and it wasn't until the deluge that engineers and members of the JBC realized there was a problem.

"I'm kind of disappointed with the end result that this is more of a drainage problem than we thought," said JBC Co-Chair Bob Hamel yesterday, telling the committee that drainage they have now should have been anticipated in the original design.

Hamel went on to say he believes the problem is now solved and noted it cost the district more by having to go to an after-bid rather than including it in the original scope.

"But (the fields) will be fantastic and, if we didn't do this, then we would have paid for it in the end," Hamel said.

Joint Building Committee Co-Chair Joe Cormier said at a School Board meeting on July 16 that there will be no additional drainage piping work done at or around the fields located behind the high school saying the School District got an engineering and construction estimate from the contractor overseeing the project and decided to reject the additional work because it was cost-prohibitive.
At the time, Cormier said he had every confidence the erosion problems that occurred during the storms won't recur and the work to fix the damage and the drainage — some of which is still under construction, would be fixed by the engineers and contractors at their expense.
After the JBC met in an emergency meeting on July 3, it voted to give Cormier and Hamel the authority to approve any drainage engineering changes and expenses