By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD — Are parents sitting on lawn furniture to watch soccer games damaging the new turf fields at the Galvin Middle School? And are the turf fields damaging the health of the kids who play on them? The Permanent Building Committee heard about both of these possibilities at its meeting last night in Room 129 at the Galvin Middle School.
Mike Boudreau and Mike Kilkelly of the Wakefield Soccer Association appeared before the PBC last night to advocate for extending the four-foot high black fencing that runs along two sides of the current field to the length of the north side of the field in order to keep non-players and coaches off the field. They also wanted to ask that similar fencing be installed around another field scheduled to be built next spring.
They even said that the Wakefield Soccer Association would be willing to pay for the fencing.
Boudreau and Kilkelly maintained that parents setting up their lawn furniture to watch the games could damage the turf fields by poking holes in the turf. They pointed out that the Recreation Commission has strict rules about no furniture being on the fields. But Boudreau said that keeping parents off the fields has been a real problem.
Some PBC members expressed surprise that it would be that difficult to keep parents from encroaching on the field. But Boudreau said that some parents ignore the signs and written rules against setting up chairs along the edges of the fields.
Other committee members argued that it would be more cost-effective to wait until all of the fields were done and see if there was still a need for the fencing.
Boudreau and Kilkelly were satisfied after being told that the field being built in the spring will be mostly enclosed by fencing and a guard rail.
The committee also discussed a report that turf fields can cause cancer when kids playing on them fall and end up breathing in particles. Member Phil Crosscup said that he had seen a credible news report to that effect. He wondered if the committee should hold off on putting in any more turf fields.
But other committee members were skeptical. Lisa Butler said that she was “perfectly comfortable” with her kids playing on the turf field. “If there were problems, parents would be talking about it,” she said.
Joe Bertrand was also dubious of the cancer claims, saying that he would want to see more convincing empirical data before halting the installation of turf fields.
Crosscup was also concerned about problems with the HVAC system heating and cooling the school. But Project Manager James Wrisley said that the contractor has been responsive in dealing with the HVAC issues, and Galvin Principal Mark Bedrosian said that things were “almost complaint free at this point.”
Permanent Building Committee members expressed concern last night that certain work done under change orders was coming in much higher than expected and not coming before the committee for approval.
What led to the discussion was the installation of 1,410 linear feet of refrigerant lines above finished ceilings between Building A and Building C. The expected cost went from $8,000 to the $38,000 finally being billed.
PBC member Chip Tarbell wondered why work was being done that the committee was not aware of. “The process seems to be failing dramatically,” he observed.
But Lynn Stapleton of owner’s project manager Joslin, Lesser & Associates explained that the work had been on the log for some time and the problems arose when the pricing finally came in.
“When we first brought them up on the log, they were smaller issues,” Stapleton said. “Some of these were so old that everybody forgot about even ever having discussed them. But they have been on the log.”
James Wrisley, Project Manager for Bond Brothers, said the lines were needed to run the HVAC system, but were inadvertently not drawn on the plans.
Another change order issue that came up last night was the relocation of condensate line in the administration area. This item also came in much higher than expected, at a total of $12,011.
PBC member James Lapery suggested withholding payment to design firm Tappe Associates. But Chris Blessen of Tappe disagreed. He said that if those refrigerant lines were actually required, the budget would have had to pay for them anyway.
But Tarbell argued that things end up costing a lot more under change orders than if the needed work had been done initially.
Tarbell asked Stapleton if the committee was being overly sensitive to these issues. Stapleton suggested looking to see if the change orders for the Galvin project fall within industry standards of between 1.5 percent and 5 percent of the total project budget.
Frank Hayes, vice president of Construction firm Bond Brothers pointed out that 3 percent of the total $60 million Galvin project budget would be $1.8 million, which has not been reached with Galvin project change orders.
The PBC paid a total of $1,445,299.18 in bills last night, with the lion’s share, $1,133,200.97 going to construction company Bond Brothers.