Northern Lehigh School District's new multipurpose field should be ready for the start of the falls sports season.

Contacted this morning, Greg Derr, director of support services and transportation, told the TIMES NEWS the district has received a soil and erosion permit from the Lehigh County Conservation District.

Derr said the permit was received via the district's inner office mail, the final hurdle the district had to overcome before it could proceed with construction of the field.

"We had our required preconstruction meeting with the Conservation office last Wednesday, and we're set to proceed with the project," Derr said. "The site contractor will be staging equipment this week, and their plans are to really get into the project July 9, with the actual removal of the dirt in preparation for installation of the base and turf."

Derr said the district anticipates being able to play the first game on the new turf.

"The word from the field turf representatives is that it will be ready for our first game," he said. "We're glad that all the permits have been approved and they're in place."

That's welcome news to the district, which as recently as last month, questioned if the field would be ready in time for the fall sports season.

If not, the district would lose revenue, and would have to pay for the transportation of students to travel to away athletic contests.

The board agreed in February to spend $770,000 for the turf field, which calls for an artificial surface, scoreboard, and security camera system in the Bulldog Athletic Stadium.

At that time, the board entered into contracts with Field Turf to install the artificial surface ($699,000); Nevoc to install a scoreboard ($50,000); and a company to install a security camera system ($20,000), to be paid from the district's Capital Projects account.

In April, the district received bids from six companies for a close-circuit video surveillance, at which time Berkshire Systems, of Reading, turned in the apparent low bid of $15,924. That proposal was a mere $198 less than the next lowest bid of $16,122 turned in by Schneider Electric, of Horsham, Montgomery County.

Superintendent Michael Michaels previously said he was concerned with the surface of the playing field, and added that referees have complained of the field's poor condition.

At that time, Michaels said the board could either choose to upgrade the stadium surface with natural grass, which would cost about $400,000; or, pay an additional cost of $299,000 for turf, which would raise the price for the turf field to $699,000.