Milton Recreation Department staff watched with wide-eyed excitement last Thursday as contractors removed the roof of the Bombardier Park fieldhouse, set for a complete overhaul this summer.
“This is so exciting,” rec coordinator Kym Duchesneau said, watching a crane lift triangular trusses to the ground.
Assistant coordinator Ben Nappi agreed: The fieldhouse renovation has been on the books for more than a decade, he said, and when complete, it will boast new bathrooms, a community room space and storage.
Town manager Don Turner revived the project last winter, hiring an engineer and drafting up plans that he put out to bid. But no general contractors bit. They told Turner there simply wasn’t enough margin to make the project worth it.
So Turner drew on his experience with his family’s construction business: He bypassed the GC, reached out to a slew of subcontractors and determined the town could manage the project within its $253,000 budget.
A good portion of the cost – $180,000 worth – comes from the recreation reserve fund, finance director Jessica Morris said. Voters previously approved a halfpenny tax levy for rec, an allotment the selectboard only recently stopped funding.
“My motivation is to get things done,” Turner said, repeating his motto. “This is one of those projects that will really show residents the town is committed to keeping our facilities up to date. This board and the previous board have made investments – the money’s there.”
Taxpayer dollars will stay local, too: Almost all of the nearly-20 subcontractors involved are Milton companies or employ Milton residents, an ethos Turner commits to in his private business, he said.
He used the same process in building the fire station, project-managing and getting donations to make it happen, he said.
Selectboard members supported the idea, only really questioning whether the town needed to invest $37,600 in a standing seam roof to match the other municipal buildings and, later this summer, the dugouts in the park.
Turner told members the roof is a good investment since asphalt shingles tend to blow off. They’d save about $15,000 but last 30 years fewer than standing seam, he said.
The town found savings in reusing the concrete blocks that form the existing fieldhouse walls. They also cut $8,000 for two clocks for the building’s cupola that town staff hope can be funded in the future. And recently, Turner found a new plumber that will save $7,000 from expected costs.
Town highway crewmembers are involved, too, doing the site excavation and removing old concrete, crushing it to use as road fill.
Though the selectboard prefers to see the fieldhouse complete in time for July 4 festivities, Turner said mid-July is more realistic.
Duchesneau and Nappi expect it to be used nearly constantly once it’s built. The design includes a pavilion, adding another option for shade besides the one on the park’s opposite side that Duchesneau says is booked every weekend.
The construction will displace summer-campers, but the school district is providing space until the fieldhouse is complete, Duchesneau said.
“It’s really exciting because we’ve been working on all of these things for quite a few years,” she said. “It’s nice to see everything come to fruition.”
Turner agreed, saying Bombardier Park will be home to a handful of improvements by summer’s end.
“I just want to do what’s best for Milton and walk away saying, ‘What a great project,’” he said.