Algonquin Regional High School athletic complex goes before Planning Board

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Algonquin Regional High School athletic complex goes before Planning Board
Renderings of the ARHS athletic complex project stand outside of Northborough’s Town Meeting last spring. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

NORTHBOROUGH – The Planning Board got a first look at a series of improvements to Algonquin Regional High School’s athletic facilities.

Gale Associates Kathy Hervol and Project Engineer Matt Kinlin presented the plans to the board on Jan. 3.

As part of this project, the high school is proposing to install a synthetic turf stadium field, a turf multipurpose field and amphitheater. Additionally, the track would be re-done, the tennis courts would be replaced and the grandstands would be upgraded to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Status of athletic facilities

Efforts regarding Algonquin’s athletic fields date back to at least 2013 when the consulting engineering firm Gale Associates conducted an assessment of the high school’s facilities.

According to Hervol, the track was installed in 1994. While the top surface was recoated in 2004, she said the track has had “heavy patching and puddling.”

“We’re aware that the high school has had issues hosting events there due to the condition of the facility,” Hervol said. “Basically, it’s beyond its life expectancy.”

The tennis courts, which were installed in 2004, have “significant” cracking, she said. The football field is in “fair” condition, but Hervol said Algonquin’s practice field is in “pretty poor” condition.

“It comes down to the overuse with the various sports events,” she said.

The surface of the field is compacted and uneven, and there are drainage issues.

According to Hervol’s presentation, the lighting is insufficient and doesn’t meet new safety standards, and the grandstand does not have handicapped seating or a ramp.

As part of the renovations, ramps, handicapped seating and an elevator to the press box will be installed.

Next steps

According to the Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough’s website regarding the project, the athletic complex is estimated to cost $7.5 million, which includes a 25% contingency.

About $4.7 million would be appropriated to Northborough under the regional agreement. The district is projecting that the estimated cost per average household — which depends upon the accepted bond option — may be $67 a year for Northborough households.

For Southborough, the appropriation is estimated to be $2.8 million with the average cost per average household estimated to be $85 a year.

As these plans are now before the Planning Board, Hervol said the high school is in the process of wrapping up comments from the Conservation Commission. She hoped to resubmit the plans to the commission by the end of that week.

According the website, the district intended to submit applications to each town’s Community Preservation Committees for grant funds.

Moving forward, the district is planning to hold community outreach and commence the procurement process this winter. The projects may be presented to Northborough and Southborough Town Meetings this spring for approval.

Construction is assumed to take 16 weeks with it kicking off in June. Substantial completion of the construction is projected to be reached by Sept. 29 with the project closing out Oct. 6.

In the meantime, the project will return before the Planning Board on Feb. 7.

For more information on the project, visit https://gonkplex.org/.

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