NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

April 24, 2014

Field complex plan goes before Town Meetings

Funding for new facilities must be approved in three Pentucket towns

WEST NEWBURY — Officials in the Pentucket Regional School District are simultaneously moving forward with an assertive timeline for a new athletic field complex at the secondary school campus, while at the same time hoping to land the necessary approval to fund the project at Town Meetings on Monday.

The district has already issued a request for bids from contractors for the $2.6 million project that seeks to install an eight-lane track with grass infield and six tennis courts for an estimated $1,642,229, and fields for softball ($324,034), field hockey ($309,114) and all-purpose ($351,998). The total estimated cost includes a 10 percent contingency fund.

Pentucket’s finance boss, Greg Labrecque, said he can fund the project without any hike in taxes. Instead, he would use a combination of available revenues and a $1.4 million bond that would be paid off by tapping the user fees students pay to play sports. The fees — which ranged this year from $200 to $850 depending on the sport — will be cut in half in the upcoming budget.

Under the Pentucket Regional Agreement, authorization to allow for the borrowing must first be obtained at Town Meetings in Merrimac, West Newbury and Groveland on Monday, but Labrecque stressed this was not an article seeking a debt exclusion override.

The bids are scheduled to be opened on Monday, May 5, with an award in place by May 19. If all goes as planned, the sod-covered field hockey field and tennis courts will be completed over the summer and ready for use in September.

The track infield, which also uses sod, will be ready that month too. The other two fields, which will have a grass base, should be ready for use in September 2015.

According to Pentucket’s athletic director, Dan Thornton, the following is a list of the breakdown of student participation in fall and spring sports:

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