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By Kara Herlihy
The Harwood Union School Board is seeking voter approval November 4, as they move forward on a $2.5 million bond for upgrades to the school's outdoor athletic facilities.
In a previous interview school board chair Scott Mackey said, "We've been bursting at the seams," especially, he said, for the soccer and softball teams.
Currently, Harwood's nine soccer teams (180 players total) share two soccer fields, leaving the seventh- and eighth-grade teams with minimal field time, Mackey said.
Plans call for one new soccer field and a softball field. Softball games are currently played in Waterbury because Harwood doesn't have a field, according to Mackey.
"We haven't been able to have softball teams play at school because we have no decent fields for them," Mackey said. The upgrades have been in the works for at least 10 years, he said.
Mackey said the proposed upgrades to the sports fields come as a part of a commitment made by the school board four years ago to upgrade athletic and extracurricular activities.
The significant athletic field expansion will take place in and around where the current baseball field is located, and push back towards the woods. The field upgrades will provide Harwood softball teams a place to play.
The school purchased the land adjacent to the current athletic facilities a decade ago, and if voters approve the bond at the November election, construction could begin as early as the spring, according to Mackey.
"We might want to wait until after the baseball season is over, if it passes, who knows? Some teams might have to play in Waterbury," he continued.
The November 4 ballot will ask the voters to approve a $2.5 million bond, that Mackey says "will have a pretty modest impact on taxpayers."
Where tax implications are concerned, Mackey estimated that the upgrades to the athletic facilities will cost $15 to $18 per year for Valley residents and about $12 per year for Duxbury residents. Taxes are higher in The Valley because the towns send students in grades 5 through 12 instead of 7 through 12.