MVRHS submits phase one of track and field project

The Martha's Vineyard Commission has approved a sports complex for MVRHS that includes a synthetic field.

Updated Jan. 28

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) has submitted the first phase of its master plan to overhaul its athletic campus to the Oak Bluffs planning board and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC).

Phase 1 is estimated to cost $7.7 million, with the funding to come from private donations.

According to Oak Bluffs planning board chair Ewell Hopkins, the board must review the submission and determine whether to refer it to the MVC as a mandatory referral, a discretionary referral, or to not refer it to the commission at all.

“The commission will not be acting on this prior to referral from the town. We will review it, make a determination of applicability, then submit a formal referral, if that is the decision the board makes,” Hopkins told The Times.

Adam Turner, executive director of the MVC, said the commission is awaiting referral from the Oak Bluffs planning board, at which point they will review the submission by the high school.

The commission then has the right to determine whether the track and field project will be considered a development of regional impact (DRI), or whether it will refer the submission back to the town.

After the current condition of the track and field at the high school was deemed inadequate by school officials, and the track itself was closed due to safety concerns, MVRHS hired Huntress Associates of Andover to do a site-plan review and design a plan for the future of the athletic facility.

Huntress Associates specializes in sports and recreation, and helped the high school with a preliminary master plan. 

According to Chris Huntress of Huntress Associates, much of the material specifications and environmental guidelines put forth in the DRI application were born out of input from community members, and past experience with similar projects. “We’ve spent a lot of time choosing the right products, and have included details that we believe will make this project well-received by the community,” Huntress said.

The school chose Daedalus Projects (now known as CHA Consulting) as the owner’s project manager.

According to a press release issued by the school department, the first phase of the master plan includes elements such as an eight-lane 400-meter track, one grass and one synthetic turf field, new lighting for a 1,000-seat grandstand, and a new facility containing restrooms, concessions, locker rooms, and a weight room.

MVRHS school committee chair Kim Kirk said in the release that the school will soon announce a campaign to raise funds from private donations. 

“It is clear we cannot put the financial burden on our taxpayers,” Kirk said in the release. “We are excited to take this first step toward providing an improved, safer, and sustainable athletics facility for our students and community for years to come.”

In the submission to the planning board, it is stated that the high school will attempt to meet a number of criteria for the project to align with the board’s goals, including minimizing soil erosion, wetland vegetation displacement, and the threat of air and water pollution. 

In its DRI application to the MVC, which will only become active if the planning board refers the project, the high school outlined a number of environmental standards that are being set.

These standards include use of a synthetic turf product that does not use polyurethane coating and heavy backing on the turf carpet, along with a specification that requires the synthetic materials to be recycled at the end of their useful life, the application states.

Updated with information added by Huntress. -Ed.



  1. Referring a proposed football field to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission is a testament to the folly of bureaucracy on MV.

    • I have to agree, Andrew. $1.8 million a year for the MVC funding. Somehow lawyers will get a slice of the money on this and every project slithering through the MVC’s hands.

  2. Why not privately raise funds to renovate the High School building first then worry about the playing fields. The High School offers plenty of sports that don’t need the use of these fields. What message are we passing on to our students when we prioritize playing a game over real education. Honestly it’s a sad commentary on the mind set of our society.

  3. Ok- we have some wealthy people here who want to donate to this project. Good for them to share a little of the wealth, and help to provide this resource for our athletes.
    But I have to note the wealth disparity this project makes obvious.
    Personally, I donate to a number of charities that I feel will have some sort of impact on either people or animals.but really, my donations pale in comparison to these numbers.
    I wonder what 7.7 million dollars would do for the food bank, the after school program , elder services etc. on this island—
    But the bigger picture asks the question , how many children world wide would not die from starvation and easily remedied ailments such as diarrhea if 7.7 million dollars were available to organizations such as doctors without borders? ? I do not intend in any way to criticize these generous donors for helping our athletically inclined students the use of a facility to assist them in achieving their goals. In fact, I applaud them.
    But, I somehow feel blindsided by the reality of the wealth disparity that is on display here.

    • This may be a bit off track, Don – pun intended – but with a headline of “MVRHS submits phase one of track and field project” don’t you think the MV Times could make a small mention of how the MVRHS track team kicked butt at Saturday’s meet? Champions as our boys and girls are? It’s already Tuesday, and not a word.

  4. I applaud any improvement to any public facility….it builds community,. Ok eyeores, as usual, fill these comment pages with negativity, for some its the “island way”.

  5. Phase 1 costs 7.7 million. How much for phase 2 and how many phases are there. I will do a feasibility study for only $310,000.00

  6. I hope OB does the right thing and just reviews and moves on with NO DRI referral. There is a track on the High School site already, there is a Football field and stands already. Looks like a conservation of space by putting the two together and rotating 90 degrees. Please don’t be afraid and pass the buck because of turf vs. grass lobbies. Nobody is crying foul over the track surface and if the rendering is to scale, that is about the same surface area as the football field…..ooops just opened up that can of worms. Do the right thing and move forward and let the kids have a facility that the whole island can be proud of and gives them a surface that makes them competitive when they encounter those conditions off island in high school and college.
    Don’t be afraid! You will get beaten up in these forums either way. Be Bold!

  7. As someone who is currently participating in the track program, I can say with certainty that a new track will be required for the future of the program, even in it’s current condition makes it very difficult for athletes to practice (loose turf, uneven surface. etc.). Not to mention, the money needed to complete phase 1 wouldn’t even put a dent in the costs needed to complete any kind of impactful renovation of the school. We need this new track!

  8. Let me go one further. If you don’t refer, all the folks that have been looking to their already lined up oppositions MVC members will just be shut down. Would that just be a crack up! Oh my. I might just have to LOL.

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