FARMINGTON — Regional School Unit 9 directors voted 11-4 on Tuesday to allow the Mt. Blue All-Sports Boosters club to raise $1.6 million as part of a capital campaign to install artificial turf at the Caldwell Field athletic complex at Mt. Blue High School.

Directors also approved a proposal by the club to give naming rights to certain facilities, including the complex, in lieu of donations.

A representative of the club’s turf committee told directors Tuesday the field is used an estimated 163.5 hours per year by the high school sports programs. Switching to synthetic turf, the group estimated, would increase that by 500 hours.

The field is not used for practice and other activities in order to preserve it for competition.

The club originally proposed the idea of artificial turf in July 2023.

Superintendent Christian Elkington said a formal vote was needed to allow fundraising.


Multiple concerns over potential health risks, environmental risk, and future costs of synthetic fields were raised by several board members. Director J. Jeffrey Barnum of New Vineyard raised several questions about potential costs of replacing the synthetic turf in five to 10 years. The potential health risks, such as potential PFAS, were also mentioned.

“I think it’s important that any potential funders understand exactly what’s being used,” Barnum said. “Because if I happen to have an extra $400,000 that I want to put into a sports field, I would want to be absolutely positive that there was no downside to that field (and) that I was not going to adversely affect any human health or environmental integrity.”

Director Scott Erb of Farmington made a motion to allow fundraising.

No formal plans to purchase or install synthetic turf have been made by the school, and the club’s proposed plans are subject to change, according to directors and Elkington.

Matt Casavant, a director of the club, said at the meeting that they have only contacted an engineering firm for estimates on the proposed athletic complex and they had not spoken with a synthetic turf manufacturer yet. He said it is the club’s intent to raise the money for RSU 9, leaving the details of construction and installation to RSU 9 officials.

Barnum and other directors said they were concerned about having the club raise money for a project that is not clearly defined or set in stone.


Elkington said there are no formal plans for the proposal. Tuesday was only a vote on whether to allow the Boosters to fundraise for the turf field.

Voting in favor of fundraising were Chairperson Dorothy “Dee” Robinson of Chesterville, Vice Chairperson Gwen Doak of Wilton, Wayne Kinney, Gloria McGraw, Erb and Todd “Will” Jones, all of Farmington, Judith “Libby” Kaut of New Sharon, Carol Coles of Starks, Joshua Robbins of Vienna, and Amanda Caruso and Kyle Fletcher, both of Wilton. Opposed were Barnum, Janice David of Farmington, Debbie Smith of Weld and Greg Kimber of Temple.

Richard Ruhlin of Industry was not present for the vote.

The club’s proposal for naming rights includes:

• At least $400,000 to name the complex.

• At least $250,00 to name the scoreboard.


• At least $100,000 to name the press box.

• At least $100,000 to name the Cougar Den.

• At least $20,000 to have a banner on the fence.

• At least $10,000 to have a banner on the tennis court fence next to Caldwell Field.

• $7,500 for a bench.

• $250 for paving bricks.

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