Regional School Committee approves $7.9M for Algonquin athletics complex project


Regional School Committee approves $7.9M  for Algonquin athletics complex project
This photo of the Algonquin Regional High School track shows patching and pooling water. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

NORTHBOROUGH – The Regional School Committee unanimously voted March 15 to allocate $7,960,393 toward renovating and remodeling Algonquin Regional High School’s athletic facilities.

For years, the athletic complex has been in desperate need of extensive renovation. While the operational budget includes yearly maintenance to keep the facilities usable, they are currently well beyond their useful life, according to district officials.

The track, worn out by countless community members and Algonquin students over the years, has “heavy patching and puddling,” according to Superintendent Greg Martineau. The track does not currently meet MIAA standards for hosting track meets.

The soil is heavily compacted on both the stadium and multipurpose fields, which needs to be frequently rested, meaning some teams don’t have access to the facilities.

As part of the plans, both fields would be upgraded to turf, and the track and tennis courts, which are also badly cracked, would be replaced.

The grandstand, amenities building, and press box will be upgraded and made accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The stadium lights, which are not sufficiently bright, will also be upgraded.

The project would also add several new features to the complex. The plans call for the installation of an amphitheater and a lacrosse wall. In addition, two tennis courts will be converted into a basketball court and three pickleball courts.

“I know when [Algonquin] Principal [Sean] Bevan presented this plan to the students, there was a lot of excitement about the pickleball courts,” Martineau said.

Martineau emphasized that the project will be built for the local community, not just Algonquin students.

“We truly believe this is a community asset and a community investment,” Martineau said. “Additional field time will be available to Northborough and Southborough recreation, as well as Northborough and Southborough youth sports participants and organizations.”

The Northborough Planning Board approved the site plans for the project March 7. However, the board noted that the approval didn’t endorse a particular playing surface.

Algonquin Regional High School athletic project goes before Town Meeting

The project will cost $7,960,393. Northborough would be expected to pay $4,961,713, which is 62.33% of the total cost, while Southborough would pay the remaining $2,998,680.

The regional district plans to finance the construction by issuing a 15-year bond. The financing for the project would not have any additional impact on taxpayers in fiscal year 2024, and bond anticipation notes would be in fiscal 2025.

In the last ten years of payment, the average Northborough household could expect to pay an extra $73 annually, while Southborough residents would pay an extra $87 per year.

The plan will head to each town’s Town Meeting in the coming weeks for approval, heading first to Southborough March 25.

If the Town Meetings approve, Martineau said the district intends to have the new fields ready for the fall sports season.

If the project is not approved, Martineau warned that the price would only increase for these badly needed renovations, and certain activities will continue to be relocated.

“Our track coaches talk about having to schedule home meets away because they can’t use the track,” Martineau said.

In a discussion about complex, School Committee members said that property values may increase after the facilities are renovated and voiced their concern for safety.

“My biggest concern isn’t necessarily property values, but… student safety and athlete safety,” Chris Covino said. “I want Algonquin athletes to compete at competitions at Algonquin.”

“It’s important to stress that it’s not because of lack of maintenance that the facilities are what they are; they’re aged out. There comes a point where you can’t just keep sinking money into your old car and expecting it to work,” Covino added.


Algonquin coaches talk about proposed athletic complex

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