Practice field to host games

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BRATTLEBORO — An athletic field at the high school only used for practices will be expanded for about $100,000 so that games can be played there in the future, according to permit plans.

"That practice field cannot be striped for games at this point because it's missing some additional length," said Tony Wonseski, senior engineer at SVE Associates. "And without being able to be striped for games, it really puts a strain on the athletic program at the high school."

The permit application approved Monday by the town's Development Review Board in a 5-0 vote calls for "minor grading extension" of the existing field to allow for "adequate field striping" for soccer, lacrosse and field hockey games. A slope will be extended by about 50 to 60 feet once 520 cubic yards of fill is added and some trees will be cleared, said Wonseski.

The plan also includes a new fence, storm drain adjustments, landscaping improvements, and new shot put and discus pads. A nearby ropes course is not expected to be affected.

Zoning Administrator Brian Bannon said the field is south of the football field and north of Sunny Acres Road.

Site work at the field was included in a 2004 permit that covered other facilities at Brattleboro Union High School.

"As the project went forward, my understanding is they were running out of funds," said Wonseski, "so they had to cut the grading short."

The project received a waiver from the DRB to install a second fence, which will be 8 feet high. That is 2 feet shorter than what is required by zoning ordinances.

Cost was cited by Wonseski when asking for the waiver. He said a retaining wall would need to be built if they went with a taller fencer.

Plantings will be used to help reduce noise and stop balls from traveling too far from the field.

"We think this is a much better look for our neighbors to the south," Wonseski told DRB members.

The DRB required the project to have a landscaping and vegetation plan approved by the zoning administrator. If lights are to be added at some point, it will need to come back to the board for approval.

And Robert Clark, facility manager at BUHS, agreed to look into applying for a grant to get an electric vehicle charging station installed at the school. He said the goal is to keep the price of the project down but serve the needs of the students.

Act 250 approval from the state is still needed before work can begin.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.

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