As expected, the Conservation Commission made no ruling on the Wilmington High School project at Wednesday’s meeting, instead opting to continue the discussion at a May 9 meeting.
Representatives of the school presented the impact of the construction on the surrounding environment, and provided several off site options for mitigating the impact they will make on Church Street.
Sandy Brock, a chief engineer for Nitsch Engineering, showed how planting trees and shrubs at Town Park, Wildwood School and across from the Water Department would satisfy the need to mitigate land that will be disturbed by the project.
Due to construction, 13,822 square feet of the riverfront area behind the new school will be degraded. As a result, 27,644 square feet of mitigation is required. By choosing three off site options, Brock said the town reaches total of 28,350 square feet.
“I would recommend beginning the off site mitigation this fall or early next spring so you can have a few growing seasons before getting into the opening of the new school,” said Brock.
Discussion about the proposed artificial turf was minimal, though Kim Drake of CDM Smith did discuss the improved safety standards of turf materials.
Smith said baseline tests for metals will be conducted before construction begins. Then for two years after the installation of turf, tests would continue to make sure those levels have not risen to an unsafe level.
“The material is fairly inert,” said Drake. “As the fields have matured and new materials have come out, they have been considered safer.”
Representing Gilbane Building Company, Mike Marcello said if the current schedule is met, turf installation would begin after graduation and be ready for use in the middle of September. He said that timeline is fairly aggressive and if it is delayed at all the turf would be ready closer to the Thanksgiving Day football game.
Marcello said the overall construction schedule includes the removal of the gymnasium after the 4th of July. In spring 2013, the steel framing of the school would be installed so that the following summer construction workers could complete the exterior of the building while students are out of school.
According to Marcello, an access road to Wildwood Street would be constructed just wide enough to move one vehicle in and out at the same time.
“We have to figure out how to get in there, but also be respectful of the wetlands area,” said Marcello. “Our intent is to set up an eight foot chain link fence with a wind screen and hay bails to keep us out so we don’t migrate into the wetlands.”
The discussion will continue during a meeting on May 9, set for Town Hall, Room 9.