, Newburyport, MA

Local News

December 24, 2012

Fields upgrade proves costly

Pentucket to review three proposals for outdoor facilities

WEST NEWBURY — A new Pentucket school board subcommittee has been charged with exploring three proposed upgrades to the secondary school’s athletic fields and outdoor facilities.

The group, which will include three School Committee members and three representatives from the district towns, is tasked with investigating schematic designs that were presented to the board last week by Gale Associates, Inc. of Weymouth. The group will also consider possible funding alternatives.

Voters at Town Meeting last spring earmarked $700,000 for the project, but initial estimates — ranging from $2.5 million to $3.32 million — have well exceeded that amount. School board members said they are committed to securing grants and private donations to cover the difference.

West Newbury’s Chris Wile cautioned his colleagues about “going too far” in fundraising before the committee decides in which direction the project will ultimately go.

“This is a big push, I’m not sure we’re going to get there,” said Wile, adding he expects some voters will be “shocked” to learn how much more money is needed for the project.

Wile said he was concerned that if only a portion of the additional funds were raised through donations, then the “default” position could mean going back to the district’s towns for the remainder of the cost.

Chairman Brian Page said the member towns have been assured that the district will not be asking taxpayers for any additional money for the project.

Wile also said the towns have been notified the current track and tennis courts were deemed unrepairable.

Business manager Mike Bergeron suggested that perhaps the project could be scaled back, with any unfunded portions ultimately added to a larger high school renovation project down the road that would tap state building funds.

Representatives from Gale Associates have offered three alternative schematic solutions. The scope of their objective was to develop a new track facility, reconstructed tennis courts, bleachers and more durable fields with adequate lighting. All base price estimates provided by Gale do not include funding for the proposed bleacher systems, the amenities building or the athletic lighting.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Port Pics
AP Video
US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Manfred, Torre and MLB Take Ice Bucket Challenge Bank of America Reaches Record $17B Settlement Holder Reassures Ferguson Community With Visit GlobalPost CEO Remembers Foley As a Brave Man Seth Meyers Rolls Out Emmy Red Carpet Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Pierce Brosnan's Call to Join the Expendables Changes Coming to No-Fly List Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape
Special Features