MVRHS gets closer to track decision

Decision expected soon on owner’s project manager hire.


And then there were two.

Daedalus Projects Inc. and Architectural Consulting Group (ACG) are the final candidates for the owner’s project manager (OPM) position overseeing design and construction of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) track and field complex.

The facilities subcommittee of the MVRHS committee on Tuesday indicated the OPM could be on board by mid-month, pending approval of their choice by the full MVRHS school committee.

First, ACG will come to the Island for vetting by the subcommittee either next week or the week after. The subcommittee will make its recommendation to the full school committee to consider, possibly on the same day as the subcommittee decision.

At their Tuesday afternoon meeting, members were divided over whether ACG should be considered. While both firms are well-regarded for their past work on-Island, Daedalus has experience in constructing track and field complexes and ACG has none, prompting reservations among several members. Subcommittee member Kris O‘Brien summarized the pro-experience view. “No offense, but I don’t want someone with no track building experience,” she said. Subcommittee chairman Skipper Manter agreed. “No experience is a sticking point,” he said.

But members Amy Houghton and Bob Lionette argued that the OPM’s job is to oversee design and construction, with Lionette arguing that ACG ought to be heard because the company has demonstrated that ability, particularly with unforeseen issues in multiple up-Island projects, including repairs at the West Tisbury and Chilmark schools.

The subcommittee agreed and phone calls and calendar-waving ensued as members cleared their plates for an early date with ACG.

The OPM hire is the first step in a two-year marathon track project which sputtered and died last summer over grass vs. turf. There was dispute and lack of agreement over legal aspects between the high school committee and the nonprofit Field Fund, which proposed funding an all-grass complex.

In anticipation of a funding deal with the Field Fund last year, the MVRHS changed its policy to embrace an all-grass complex, and will have to revisit the policy if final plans call for any use of artificial surface.

But finalizing an OPM, a months-long process involving 18 potential candidates, is the first step before MVRHS, its committee and its OPM begin work to select an evaluation and design team and hire a construction company