AUBURN, Mass. – It seems like the Auburn High School artificial turf field was unveiled just yesterday, but School Committee members are already thinking about saving money to replace it in 10 to 15 years.
At the committee’s meeting last week, member Liz Gribbons proposed setting aside money every year to make sure there is enough funding when the turf needs to be replaced in the 2020s.
“Hopefully we can come up with a way to save money each year. We have to start coming up with a plan,” Gribbons said. “The longer we wait, the more money every year we’ll have to put towards it. So if we start now or in a couple years, then the money we put away will be a lot less.”
Superintendent of Schools Maryellen Brunelle said she has talked with town officials in the past about saving money for replacing the field, which has about a 20-year life span. Auburn High School was opened in 2006.
“We need to be cognizant as a community that this is ultimately going to be a cost that will need to be paid,” said Brunelle, who plans on talking with town officials about the issue.
Gribbons agreed that it should be dealt with at the town level because “this field is being used not just by the schools.”
“Every group uses the high school fields,” Gribbons said. “Those fields have really benefited this town. We’re getting funds from groups. Everybody’s benefiting from the fields, so it’s truly a town issue as much as it is a school issue.
“I’m glad that town organizations are using it, and it’s great that sports teams in town are using it, but we do need to start planning,” Gribbons added.
School business manager Daniel Deedy said there would need to be an article at a future town meeting to set up a stabilization fund, setting money aside, for the artificial turf field.
The Oct. 17 School Committee meeting will have an update on replacing the high school field, so come back to The Daily Voice for updates.