NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

November 23, 2012

Pentucket board considers 3 plans for athletic fields

(Continued)

But the consultants say they are recommending the third option because it is the only one that relocates the track and field facility from the middle school to land in front of the high school where it “will be a focus point for everyone entering the campus and provide a sense of pride for all students.” Overall field space is also increased under this plan.

The Pentucket board stressed that it would not be going back to the district towns for any additional funding for this project beyond what was already approved at town meeting. Instead, it will rely on fundraising and grants to cover the higher price tag for whichever reconfiguration is eventually selected.

After hearing from the Tri-town Regional Financial Advisory Committee recently, Pentucket Chairman Brian Page told his colleagues on Tuesday that he was hopeful the public works departments in the district towns would be willing to rip out the track and do some regrading work as a cost-saving measure for the project.

Under the third option, the existing softball field and tennis courts would be demolished and relocated. It calls for regrading the area between the main entrance roadway and the tree line on the opposite side of the tennis courts and installing a new “6 lane on the oval/8 lane on the straightway” track and field with synthetic turf in this area. The plan includes a 1,200-person grandstand with press box at the midpoint of the field and a four-pole athletic lighting system.

Behind the high school, the bleacher system and press box would be demolished to allow for expansion of the existing field to a width of 210 feet — the ideal size for high school level soccer and women’s lacrosse.

Over at the middle school, the track would be converted to loam and seed to accommodate a full-sized multipurpose field as well as three smaller fields in the transverse direction. Six tennis courts and a softball field would be erected nearby and an amenities building would provide restrooms, concessions and storage. The plan includes a 10-foot wide access road to the fields and the Merrimack River.

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