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DPW, Bay Path at work building AHS press box.

Byline: Ellie Oleson

AUBURN - It looks as if the five-time Super Bowl champion Auburn High School Rockets football team will finally be able to have games televised live on Channel 3 cable television next year. The press box under construction at the high school is expected to be complete in the new year.

"It's taken years to get this project going. The pyramids were built faster. It should have been built when the high school was built," said Joseph M. Hamel, a member of the Local Channel Committee, which is funding the project.

He said the structure was included in the original plan for the high school, which opened in 2006, but was lost to budget cuts. The cable committee became involved when football coach Jeff W. Cormier came to a committee meeting several years ago and asked for help.

William R. Garneau, athletic director, said the press box houses the announcer, timekeeper, scorers, assistant coaches, television cameras and sound equipment and has been missed these past seven seasons.

Last year, he contacted AHS alumni, who donated leftover class money and additional money, totaling $27,000, to fund the project.

The Channel Committee, which oversees local access cable television, agreed to budget up to $70,000 for the press box.

"It's important. We're talking about Super Bowl champions. Channel 3 wanted to televise some of their games, but they couldn't because we didn't have any facilities," Mr. Hamel said.

The new press box will allow live broadcasts of football games, soccer games, graduations and any other events taking place on the field.

Johnson Structural Engineering of Faith Avenue in Auburn designed the building, Midstate Welding of Oxford erected the steel structure that will be topped by the press box, and Stearns Electric of Oxford won the low bid to run an electrical line to the site, according to Joseph F. Fahey, director of facilities and maintenance for the School Department.

"People don't realize how much effort Rob Johnson of Johnson Engineering has put into this project. He has gone way above and beyond what he is being paid for," Mr. Fahey said.

The project was delayed last summer when the low bid for construction of the 8-by-24-foot press box and two adjacent 6-by-8-foot platforms came in at $138,000, which was more than double what was expected.

Thanks to a joint effort involving the Channel Committee, School Department, Department of Public Works and Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School, the job is being done at a much lower cost.

"Instead of $138,000, we expect it to cost about $60,000. All costs will be paid with committee funds, with no taxpayer dollars. That's what can be accomplished when we work together for the kids," Mr. Hamel said.

William A. Coyle, DPW director, signed building permits for the project. He said skilled craftsmen James Beauregard and Caleb Moody, both members of the DPW's newly created facilities division, took on this building as their first major project.

"They are doing a great job. DPW wages will be paid through the cable committee at a significant savings for the town."

Bay Path cabinetmaking students are expected to take over a majority of the finish work. The cupola to sit on the roof is to be built inside at Bay Path and will be transported to Auburn and erected by DPW and Bay Path workers, Mr. Coyle said.

Mr. Hamel said AHS teacher Jason Bergman's video production students are deeply involved in the project and will run the cameras, tape games and other events and edit shows for future broadcasts from the press box.

"This will not only allow people to watch the games live, but will prepare students for a job in the field. This is an important project. I'm glad it's finally being done after all these years."

ART: PHOTO

PHOTOG: T&G Staff/PAUL KAPTEYN

CUTLINE: Auburn DPW employee James Beuregard, left, and Caleb Moody, background right, work on a press box for the Auburn High School football field.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Dec 14, 2012
Words:670
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