Molloy College's to upgrade four village athletic fields, fit them with synthetic turf and build an additional one has been scaled down due to unexpected, additional construction costs, officials said.
The proposed NCAA baseball and hockey fields outlined in the project for Centennial Park were taken out of the plan because engineers found structural deficiencies in the ground underneath the park, officials said.
“The subsurface soil is structurally unable to support new synthetic turf fields and the associated drainage system,” said John Cameron of Cameron Engineering, the village’s engineers on the project who performed the subsurface evaluation.
Test borings of the area, some as deep as 35 feet, revealed “a high variability of materials buried beneath the surface,” according to the engineering report, “confirming the fact that the site had historically been filled for many years with rubble, wood, concrete and silty soils over an underlying bog layer.”
Without significant soil replacement and extensive structural improvements that would cost millions of dollars more than a typical installation, the fields would not remain flat and level, Cameron said.
“After the engineering report, Molloy told us they couldn’t justify the expense of the Centennial Park portion of the project,” Mayor Fran Murray said.
Cameron told village officials that the fields are acceptable for natural turf. “If and when any uneven settlement takes place, the costs of repairs are much less than for a synthetic turf installation," he said. "Regular play can be conducted on the natural turf fields as normal."
Under the terms of the revised agreement with Molloy, the college will provide a fixed fee of $1.6 million for the construction and use of an NCAA-regulation, synthetic turf women’s softball field at the Skelos Sports Complex on Peninsula Boulevard. The new field and an associated tee-ball field will be available to local sports organizations.
At the Sept. 4 Board of Trustees meeting, the mayor added that bids for the Klein Field improvements at the Skelos Sports Complex had come in lower than expected, leaving some funds available to improve fields at Centennial Park.
Mayor Murray said that he and the Board of Trustees would meet with local sports organizations before deciding how to proceed with those improvements.