To the Editor:
Improving the athletic fields at the MVRHS has been discussed for the last four years. It started with a plan developed by Gale Associates for MV@Play to replace the failed existing facility with a new track and a synthetic playing field inside the track. A group who wanted to use grass for the field surface opposed this plan. This debate lasted for a year and a half, and ended with at a meeting in the superintendent’s office during April 2017.
At this meeting, MV@Play formally stepped down, and the grass advocates agreed to take over the project. The Field Fund representative Mollie Doyle’s exact words were, “We have a plan, the funds, and we will complete this project.” The Field Fund entered into negotiations with the MVRHS school board, which ended with the Field Fund walking away from the project. They required conditions in the agreement with the MVRHS school board that by law could not be given by a public entity.
The MVRHS school committee then took control of rebuilding the field and track. They hired an owners project manager and Huntress Associates, a design and engineering firm, to do a needs assessment of our fields and create a plan for a new track and field.
Huntress Associates’ determination was in agreement with Gale Associates, that grass fields alone couldn’t handle the usage placed upon the high school grass fields.
The Huntress Associates plan was vetted at three public hearings and multiple school board meetings. The MVRHS school board voted to accept the Huntress plan to replace the existing stadium field with a new track and synthetic turf field on Feb. 2, 2019. This plan will require review and acceptance by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.
I am asking the Island’s help to move this project forward. Let this plan be presented to the MVC, have both sides state their positions with supporting facts, and the MVC will make their decision.
Donahue is one of the founders of MV@Play. –Ed.