To the Editor:
While I have decided to let others debate the turf vs. natural grass at the proposed athletic fields at MVRHS, I would like to address the question that the Field Fund has raised about planning for the location of this facility prior to completing a master plan for the MVRHS campus. As a registered landscape architect practicing on Martha’s Vineyard for nearly two decades, I do believe that it is extremely important to have a master plan in place prior to moving forward with any project. It is simply smart planning to have an overall vision at any project scale, whether it is your own property or a high school campus. However, since the feasibility study for the MVRHS campus was recently rejected by Oak Bluffs voters (due to strong opposition to the regional funding formula), the planning for a new high school campus has been pushed back even further. And since the existing track will be condemned by 2020, it is critical that the school move forward with a new track immediately.
Regardless of whether the high school is remodeled or a new facility is constructed, it seems reasonable that the MVRHS School Building Committee would not propose razing the Performing Arts Center to construct the high school on another part of the campus. Therefore, it also seems reasonable that much of the new or remodeled high school would remain on the west side of Sanderson Avenue in some organized fashion, around the existing PAC. Chris Huntress’ proposed layout for the fields also makes sense, in that it places the track with the playing field (with lights for evening use) adjacent to Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road, in an area away from any residential areas and closest to the YMCA and M.V. Ice Arena campus. It just makes sense.
Delaying this project and holding up the construction of a new track and five new playing fields does not make sense. I urge all voters in Aquinnah to approve the E and D funds so that this project can move forward!