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Construction begins at Havre de Grace's Harris field

BY MARISSA GALLO, mgallo@theaegis.com

11:16 PM EST, November 7, 2012

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Although the Harford County Council hasn't approved additional funding for field improvements at Havre de Grace High School quite yet, construction has begun for the James R. Harris Stadium field facilities project.

A contract for $1,134,400 was awarded to MRP Contractors LLC for the Harris Stadium improvements project in August by the Harford County Board of Education.

The project will consist of building a visiting team fieldhouse and related site improvements, a referees room in the fieldhouse, adding a canopy over the concession area, new parking, a recycled asphalt walkway from the ticket booth to the bleachers, replacing a fence on either side of the fieldhouse, adding a concrete pad and planter for a future statue at the field's entrance near the ticket booth, the addition of flagpoles, concrete footings and in-ground up-lighting and, finally, brick paving in areas from the entrance to the bleachers.

Construction crews were laying down the foundation for the fieldhouse earlier this week, as well as extending water and sewer lines underneath Juniata Street to the stadium complex.

Initially, the school system had a capital project balance of $1 million, as of June 1, for the project.

It wasn't until the county government stepped in and agreed to give $400,000 that the project could proceed.

County Executive David Craig was in the audience during the Aug. 13 meeting when the contract was approved.

He announced before the decision by the board was made that the county would fund the balance of improvements that came in over what was budgeted.

As usual with capital projects, Craig said, they are "never exactly what they are in the budget," and once the school system receives final quotes for the project, the county will fund them.

The City of Havre de Grace is also waiving utility hook-up fees and inspection fees that will "adjust the numbers slightly to your benefit," said Craig, who is a graduate of HHS.

The county, Craig added, will give the same support for any other similar field restoration projects to keep things fair among schools.

A resolution was introduced Oct. 16 for the Harford County Council to transfer funds to the Harford County Board of Education for the field improvements.

The council next meets Nov. 13, but there is no word yet if the resolution will be on the agenda.