Getting on track at MVRHS


Updated April 27

The facilities subcommittee of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional School Committee this week considered a list of questions for Gale Associates, a former consultant, on plans to construct a new track at the high school.

Subcommittee member Kris O’Brien will prioritize and highlight questions in advance of a proposed visit by Gale to the Island early next month. The request to pay a stipend to Gale for the onetime consulting needs approval from the MVRHS Committee.

Subcommittee members and MVRHS staff earlier this week submitted two-plus pages of questions for the track builder related to costs, usage, and data, and experience the company might have related to grass and synthetic playing fields.

Gale had submitted a proposal described by athletic director Mark McCarthy as ”90 percent complete” last year, before a cascade of often contentious debate on grass vs. synthetic stalled the track effort. McCarthy told the subcommittee on Tuesday that about 350 different people use the high school fields in fall and spring.

The tenor of the questions and of subcommittee discussion on Tuesday indicates that grass vs. synthetic turf will surface again as the school committee pursues its plan to construct a new track separate from plans to rehabilitate or build a new high school.

Member Robert Lionette said the questions should focus on financial aspects of a new track. “It’s premature to get into cultural and environmental aspects at this point,” he said. The subcommittee agreed to meet weekly on Tuesday at 8 am at the high school, and School Superintendent Matt D’Andrea suggested that all subcommittee meetings be videotaped going forward, at a cost of $70 per meeting.

Updated to correct the number of people who use the field. -Ed.


  1. The financial questions for turf are simple:
    1) How much will it cost?
    2) How long will it last?
    3) Where is the money coming from when it needs replacement? How will the town/school/booster club guarantee that they won’t be asking for MORE money in the future to remove/replace the field?

    One thing about grass: You can ignore it.

  2. Ignore it? we are talking about a competitive athletic surface here, not some playground. The high school cannot improve their fields without the addition of at least one synthetic field. If it wasn’t for the Anti Plastics group the field would have already been paid for and installed. Out kids could have been enjoying the new track and field by now.

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