MVRHS chooses Huntress as track and field designer

Design firm originally created master plan for athletic facilities.

The turf field proposed for the Martha's Vineyard high school — Courtesy Huntress Associates Inc.

After interviewing four different athletic facility designers for the track and field overhaul at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS), school officials moved forward with Huntress Associates Inc. of Andover. 

The decision to hire Huntress Associates is pending pending negotiation of a contract by business administrator for the school, Amy Tierney, and school committee approval.

School officials interviewed three other finalist firms for the design project, including Connecticut-based Milone & MacBroom; NESRA Engineers of Taunton; and Activitas Inc. of Dedham.

Chris Huntress of Huntress Associates is a familiar face at the school, as he formulated a preliminary master plan for the entire athletic campus.

Huntress initially reviewed existing athletic facilities and solidified phase one of a multiphase approach to completely revamp the fields at the school.

He provided an overview of strengths in the school’s athletic facilities, and pointed out things that could be improved.

The larger plan created by Huntress includes construction of one synthetic turf field inside a resurfaced track, along with five grass athletic fields.

Huntress Associates will produce design documents for the project, and will monitor ongoing construction as the design plan comes to fruition.

Huntress said he is pleased that the school chose his firm for the project, especially when considering the skill and experience levels of other design firms that were being considered.

During the presentation to school officials, Huntress said he discussed some of his more recent work, and some projects that fit the scope of the work to be done at MVRHS.

Some recent design projects Huntress has engaged in include a $1.2 million renovation of Ryan Field at Bowdoin College, and renovation of an existing track and construction of two new synthetic turf fields at Braintree High School. 

Huntress also went over benefits of the site at MVRHS, and constraints at the site such as permitting and regulatory considerations. 

He also provided information on possible natural grass options, and synthetic turf products that are emerging in today’s market. 

Milone & MacBroom, one of the largest consulting firms in the Northeast, has headed projects at Yale University, Guilford High School, and Hamden High School.

At Yale, Milone & MacBroom sought to “enhance competitiveness while improving player safety; provide consistent playing conditions, extend the playing season, and reduce overall maintenance costs,” according to the Milone & MacBroom website

Activitas Inc. has worked with Harvard University, Boston College, and the New England Patriots.

President of Activitas Patrick Maguire acknowledged the fact that costs associated with bringing construction materials to the Island could be up to 20 percent higher than on the mainland. He identified permitting issues such as wetlands restrictions and the process of going through the Martha’s Vineyard Commission. 

He mentioned one strength of his company is that he trusts many of his employees to play major roles in the project, instead of having only one designated design manager. 

NESRA Engineering designed a state-of-the-art eight-lane NCAA competition track with an inset synthetic turf field for Colby Sawyer College, and constructed two synthetic turf multipurpose athletic fields for Proctor Academy.