No state building funds for MVRHS

School committee will ‘drive its own bus’ on field project.

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For the third consecutive year, Martha's Vineyard Regional High School did not make the cut for state reimbursement for a proposed renovation project. - File photo

The long-awaited renovation of Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) will be on hold for another year as school superintendent Matt D’Andrea said the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) did not include MVRHS as one of 15 schools to receive up to 40 percent state reimbursement of building costs.

Mr. D’Andrea told the MVRHS school committee on Monday night that he received word last month. “We made the short list out of 83 submissions, but not the final 15,” Mr. D’Andrea said.

It’s the third consecutive year the high school project has been excluded. “We’re deeply disappointed, yes, but you keep knocking on the door until someone answers it,” Mr. D’Andrea said after the meeting.

The MSBA decision did, however, free the committee to begin its own effort to renovate its track and field complex, months after resurfacing the track oval at the high school. “This committee needs to drive its own bus,” committee member Kris O’Brien said, striking a responsive chord with the group. MVRHS Principal Sara Dingledy suggested that journey begin with an administration, student, and staff assessment of needs, with community outreach and input included, and a potential nonprofit fundraising arm to defray costs of the multimillion-dollar project.

The high school and its school committee had yearlong discussions in 2017 with two Island groups, including MV@Play and the Field Fund, which has raised several million for all-grass Island playing fields. Eventually the sides were unable to agree on a plan, and talks ground to a halt in the fall.

The committee is planning now to replace the high school’s track and field facility with an eye toward making use of $284,000 in available Community Preservation funds. The track was resurfaced in the fall after being in such disrepair that the high school’s teams had to stop using it for meets.

In other business, high school facilities manager Mike Taus and his staff got a major committee shoutout for their work during the recordsetting deep freeze over the weekend. Mr. Taus and his staff rotated shifts to monitor the school’s heating and water pipes systems throughout the weekend.

Four small events were discovered and dealt with quickly, avoiding damage, Mr. Taus reported.

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