Edison School Multipurpose Fields Project
At the June 15, 2021 Town Council meeting, the Council voted to authorize Mayor Brindle to sign a Letter of Intent ("LOI") to explore a shared service agreement with the Westfield Board of Education for a proposed multipurpose fields project at Edison Intermediate School.
- June 15, 2021: Edison Multi-purpose Fields conceptual plan presented at Town Council
- June 15, 2021: Dedicated email channel enabled for input & feedback
- Late June/Early July: Informal, in-person neighborhood feedback (meetings, door-to-door)
- July 14, 2021: Formal input and feedback session #1 at Edison School
- July 21, 2021: Formal input and feedback session #2 at Edison School
- August 10, 2021: Commitment made at Town Council meeting to scale back the plan; public comment
- August 17, 2021: Recreation Commission/Edison Neighbors Advisory Group meeting #1
- September 15, 2021: Recreation Commission/Edison Neighbors Advisory Group meeting #2
- September 20, 2021: Formal input & feedback session #3 at Edison School with presentation to reduce the project by 50%
- February 2022: Parking Assessement report from Speizle received
- February 23, 2022: Input meeting with Neighborhood Advisory group representatives, District Athletic Director, elected officials from the Town Council and Board of Education, representatives from soccer and lacrosse leagues, members of the Recreation Commission, and the Recreation Director. Presented plan included updated parking assessment information.
- April 26, 2022: Resolution adotped by the Town Council to award a contract to CME for an indepdendent assessment of the Edison School Fields project
- September 26, 2022: CME report posted
- November 9, 2022: The Town Council votes to authorize the Town to enter into a shared services agreement with the Board of Education for the Edison Fields Project.
- November 16, 2022: The Westfield Board of Education votes to approve the shared services agreement with the Town.
- January 19, 2023: The Town issued an RFP for site survey and project design work.
- January 26, 2023: A non-mandatory site inspection visit was held at Edison for firm interested in the RFP.
- March 17, 2023: An RFP review and selection committee was formed with the following stakeholders:
- Councilman Scott Katz, liaison to the Recreation Commission
- Councilwoman Habgood, Finance Policy Committee Chair
- Board of Education Business Administrator Patty Ramos
- Board of Education Facilities Director Sean McArthur
- Recreation Director Megan Schaffer
- Assistant Recreation Director Dan Conte
- Recreation Commission member Russ Howell
- Recreation Commission Chairwoman Jennifer Gilman
- Town Administrator Jim Gildea
- Assistant Town Administrator Heather Re-Ferrati
- Dave McAlister, member of the Westfield Infrastructure Resiliency Committee (WIRC)
- April 2023: Steering committee unanimously chose T&M Associates as the best fit for this project to be recommended for a future award of contract.
- May 23, 2023: Public hearing and ordinance adopted on second reading to approve a bond issuance of $11.8M for the Edison Fields Project.
- June 22, 2023: Certification of sufficiency of petition for a referendum was completed by the Town Clerk.
- November 7, 2023: General election date, which will include the referendum vote on the Edison Fields Project.
Revised Conceptual Plan: Presented September 20, 2021
The revised plan covers approximately 60% of the surface area (approximately 250k square feet), and will include:
● One natural grass baseball field (not lit)
● Leaves approximately 40% of the space in natural grass (equivalent to field size)
● Two artificial turf, lit, multi-purpose fields (NFHS compliant)
● One artificial turf baseball field (NFHS compliant)
● Prefabricated restroom facilities (similar to recent addition at Memorial Park)
The revised cost estimate is approximately $9MM (50% of initial plan).
Providing new fields was one of the top recommendations that came out of the Town’s Strategic Parks Plan -- a publicly-driven initiative which provided Westfield with a holistic, long-term road map for optimizing its parks, recreation opportunities, and open spaces and was adopted by the Town Council in January 2020.
While multiple projects were identified as opportunities in the Parks Plan, the Recreation Commission Parks & Fields Committee proposed the Edison School Multipurpose Fields Project as the top priority. It offers the greatest and most immediate additional capacity for the community and can be dedicated exclusively for Westfield teams and residents since it is not a Green Acres facility, unlike nearly all of the Town-owned municipal parks. By completing the Edison project first, the community gains immediate, expanded capacity that would benefit the largest number of potential user groups, while also offering the least disruption to existing fields during construction.
The Edison School property is owned by the Board of Education, and the Letter of Intent has provided the initial framework for the shared service agreement, which states the Town shall pay $1 per year for 30 years to lease the property, and will bear responsibility for the financing, design, construction, and maintenance of the facility in cooperation with the Board of Education.
Currently, the Edison School fields are used almost exclusively by Edison School and Westfield High School for a variety of activities, including band, drill team, and practices for some Westfield High School sports teams. Only Westfield High School baseball games and select track and field event competitions can be held on the existing fields. The proposed project will accommodate and enhance the existing school utilization while adding significant new fields capacity for use by a wide range of user groups in Town.
The Edison School Multipurpose Fields Project Steering Committee was formed in February 2020 to work with a consultant, Spiezle Architectural Group, which was hired through a public bidding process, to assist with the design of a potential project. The committee is comprised of the following individuals:
- Councilman Scott Katz - Town Council liaison to the Recreation Commission
- Jennifer Gilman - Recreation Commission Chair (January 1, 2021 - present)
- Russ Howell - Recreation Commission member and Chair of the Park & Fields Committee (January 2021 - present)
- Patty Ramos - School Business Administrator (January 1, 2023 - present)
- Jim Gildea - Westfield Town Administrator
- Megan Schaffer - Westfield Recreation Director (January 1, 2023 - present)
- Dan Conte - Westfield Recreation Assistant Director
- Advisors - School district major users:
- Sandy Mamary - School Athletic Director
- LaNova Schall - Principal, Edison Intermediate School (June 13, 2023 - present)
- Chris Vitale - Westfield High School Band Director
Previous Steering Committee Members
- Peggy Oster - President of the Board of Education (through December 31, 2020)
- Amy Root - President of the Board of Education (January 2021 - November 16, 2022)
- Gary Fox - Recreation Commission Chair (through Dec. 31, 2020)
- Mike Bielen - Board of Education member and Chair of the Board Facilities Committee (through April 2023)
- Brad Rothenberg - Recreation Commission member and Chair of the Park & Fields Committee (through December 31, 2020)
- Dana Sullivan - School Business Administrator (through December 31, 2022)
- Don Bogardus - Westfield Recreation Director (through December 31, 2022)
- Matt Bolton - Edison School Principal (through May 10, 2023)
The initial proposal, introduced in June 2021, had an estimated cost of $18M. In September, 2021, following resident feedback, the project was scaled back by nearly half, with the revised plan covering 60% of the initial surface area, with an estimated cost of $9M.
The current bond ordinance that will be on the referendum is for $11.8M. Due to the Town’s legal and financial flexibility with capital projects and bonding capacity, the financing of the entire project will be administered by the Town. It is anticipated that revenues from the recently adopted PILOT agreement from the Westfield Crossing redevelopment project will be used to service the annual debt. In addition, we anticipate a capital campaign seeking grants, sponsorships, and sports league contributions to further offset costs.
The $11.8M in authorized bonds is likely more than the anticipated final project cost to ensure maximum financial flexibility so that the most environmentally sensitive materials, updated stormwater mitigation measures, and adequate screening landscaping for the neighbors can be considered. Any unused authorized funds will be redirected to future uses – in this case, supporting grass field initiatives concurrently with the construction of the Edison Fields project.