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New Haven Register (Connecticut)
DERBY>> A pair of architects have scored the task of giving the school district's athletic complex a major-league facelift.
Two separate committees working on the project -- the Athletic Complex Building Committee and the Field House and Baseball Field Building Committee -- both recently voted to bring the two architect firms onboard.
The Athletic Complex Building Committee selected a New Britain firm, Kaestle Boos Associates Inc., which designed the minor league stadium that formerly housed the New Britain Rock Cats and the current home of the Bees. The firm, in business for more than 50 years, is the designer behind many statewide renovation projects, including the Palace Theater in Waterbury, Naugatuck High School and its athletic complex, Greenwich Academy's athletic field and West Hartford Veterans Memorial.
"I think everyone was impressed with their experience, past projects and their understanding of the scope of our project," said City Treasurer/Committee Chairman Keith McLiverty.
Kaestle Boos will serve as project manager, overseeing the design and construction of an artificial turf football field, multi-purpose field and 8-lane rubberized track at the Leo F. Ryan Sports Complex on Chatfield Street.
Derby received $2.9 million in funding from the state Bond Commission for the project.
A second architect, Peter de Bretteville of Hamden, was selected by the Field House and Baseball Field Committee to design and oversee construction of another major component of the overall athletic complex makeover, though it's being treated as a separate project.
A new baseball field and state-of-the-art field house is being privately funded thanks to a more than $2 million donation from Joan Payden, founder, CEO and president of Los Angeles-based international investment firm Payden & Rygel.
Payden made the donation in memory of her father, J.R. Payden, a Derby High School class of 1915 valedictorian who played baseball here, graduated from Yale University and served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps Aviation Division and became a fighter pilot for the Royal Flying Corps in England.
Payden hand-picked de Bretteville, who has more than 40 years' experience and has designed renovations ranging from the historic Stonington library to Athens College in Greece, to design the baseball field/fieldhouse project.
The existing high school baseball field, which is not regulation size, has to be relocated in order to make way for the artificial turf field and track. The field currently is located next to the football field at the Ryan Complex and is slated to be relocated to where the existing girls' softball field is. The softball field is slated to move nearby to either the high school campus on Nutmeg Avenue near the existing Little League field or near the new artificial turf field.
School and city officials assured concerned coaches, student athletes, parents and others the renovations and relocations, while requiring some temporary shuffling around, will not hurt any of the existing sports programs.
Superintendent of Schools Matthew Conway had called Payden's donation a "game changer," especially because the initial project utilizing the state funding had to scrap the fieldhouse.
Credit: By Jean Falbo-Sosnovich, [email protected]
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