After a short presentation and discussion, the New Richmond Board of Education approved a $1,146,481 contract with Peterson Companies, Inc. to install the new synthetic field turf for its NRHS Stadium Project, during its Monday, Feb. 18 regular board meeting.

The bid from Peterson was the lowest of two qualifying bids, even though the bid included several alternates that added nearly $23,000 of extra options to improve the look of the field. The recommendation to accept the Peterson Companies bid came from ATS&R.

"The alternates we were looking at include the field markers and the D-zone outside the endzone. For alternate 3.4, we felt that the amount was relatively small when it comes to making a field that really pops and making it so you can really visibly see those numbers and markings on the field," said District Administrator Patrick Olson. "Based on where the bid amount came in at, we felt that the D-zone made sense to add. We feel from when you look at having activities on the field, this is an opportunity to warm up, looks better and is efficient and functional."

Peterson Companies will install IRONTURF, a Greenfields product that was recently installed at the New England Patriots practice field, and is a similar product to what the new Hudson High School stadium has on its field.

"The recommendation is to go forward without a pad, since there is no research out there that a pad makes that difference. We would rather invest in high quality turf, the mat and the infield itself," Olson said. "The G-Max is the rating of the impact, which is where there is substantial research on what is allowable. When it comes to that impact piece, it was something we took into consideration because we wanted to invest in something that embraced that vision, but was also a quality mat."

IRONTURF comes with a 10-year warranty, versus an eight-year warranty the other bidder offered. According to Johnston, the turf will be inspected following installation as well as one year after the installation.

"The savings from this bid will allow us to maybe get a head start on Phase 3, with some bleachers and things like that," Olson said. "We will talk more about Phase 3 of this project next month since some decisions need to be made. Other than that, we look forward to having this completed on time."

Installation of the turf should begin in early June, with completion scheduled to be finished by the end of August. The field can then be used by all sports at the high school other than varsity football.

District boundary alteration petition

The board also heard a petition from a town of Star Prairie family who wished to have their property altered from the Somerset School District to the New Richmond School District. The board eventually denied the request, which was Olson's recommendation, on a 6-1 vote. Board member Neal Melby was the only member to vote against denying the request.

"These are always difficult scenarios and is based on a lot of different things that need to be taken into account. As a history, the board has gone through a number of these over the years. In this situation, one of the things we try to stay away from is creating an island, which would happen in this case," Olson said. "We also don't have an existing bus route going out to that area."

The petition came from Luke and Nancy Dressel, 985 198th Ave., Somerset, who were present at the meeting and spoke on their own behalf. According to the Dressels, their daughter, a seventh grader at New Richmond Middle School, is currently open-enrolled in the New Richmond School District. The couple have two younger children they would like to attend the district when they are older. They said they know open enrollment into New Richmond isn't a guarantee, let alone that they will be able to continue attending the district throughout their whole school careers.

The property is located in Star Prairie Township in the middle of Somerset School District with New Richmond about a fourth of a mile away. The district currently has no homes on the road leading into the development, which would mean adding to the district transportation in that area.

Security camera upgrades

The board approved a proposal from Floyd Total Security for $76,260.30 to upgrade the district's security camera system and software.

According to Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds Robert Parent, the upgraded cameras will give the user better coverage of the parking areas, playgrounds and also improve on some blind spots in some of the buildings. The upgraded cameras will be digital that require additional wires ran to each new camera. The new software program makes it easier to track subjects from one camera to another along with other updates as the old program is no longer supported.