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.