Repairs to playing fields at , one of the major items in a 2009 public referendum, continue even after officials anticipated that they would be completed in time for the new school year.
Though administrators last month said the district may take over repairs should they not be completed quickly enough by the contractor, school business administrator Craig Lorentzen recently said that the landscaper remains on the job and is "making progress on the repairs."
"The fields have received some much needed attention in the past few weeks," he said. "We have addressed the field grade issues and reseeded those area. We also identified other areas where there has been poor growth and are addressing them as well."
Problems with the grading and grass on playing fields on the cafeteria side of the school, including those for soccer, have forced a change in venue for the Hawks soccer squads. Weeds, bare spots in fields and dead trees were apparent, Lorentzen said.
"It looks like we're not going to be able to use those fields for the fall," said President Donald Webster at the body's regular monthly meeting in August.
"Some of the fields are not where they should be by now," Lorentzen said at the time, adding that a deadline was set for the contractor to complete work before the district stepped in and charged back for necessary work.
Since the fields are not ready for play, Superintendent of Schools David Trethaway said that high school teams will use the Lakehurst/Manchester Soccer Club fields near the school on Colonial Drive.
In return for using the facilities, Manchester schools will maintain the fields there until high school fields are ready for play.
"The agreement that we have with LMSA is that we'll do a lot of cutting of the grass," Trethaway said.
Progress is being made, Lorentzen said, and the district is holding over $300,000 on the project which would not be paid until repairs are satisfactorily completed.
"This is one of the last major open items left in our referendum and we are doing everything we can to get these fields ready for use," Lorentzen said. "We have begun our fall maintenance program and we are starting to see some improvement."