Editor’s note: This article has been updated with more details from the Town Meeting deliberations.
NORTHBOROUGH – Night one of Northborough’s annual Town Meeting concluded April 24, and voters approved numerous articles, including the Algonquin Regional High School (ARHS) athletic complex project.
Specifically, Article 25 asked whether voters will authorize $7.96 million in borrowing that has been approved by the Regional School Committee.
“The current facility has served the communities well over the years. However, it is beyond its useful life, and there are safety issues as a result,” said Superintendent Greg Martineau.
According to Martineau, the discussion to arrive at this Town Meeting vote dates back 10 years to when an athletic campus evaluation and track feasibility study was funded by the Algonquin Athletic Booster Club.
Among the issues, Martineau said the stadium field’s soil is heavily compacted, as is the multipurpose filed. Additionally, the tennis courts’ base layer have significant cracking and failure.
He said the base layer of the track has failed, and the top surface can’t be repaired.
“As a result, the track is unsafe and unusable for track meets,” Martineau said.
The complex is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the lighting doesn’t meet the new safety standards, he said.
The district is proposing to create an ADA-compliant complex, including a reconstructed track, replacing both the stadium and multipurpose fields with turf, replacing the grand stand with ADA-compliant seating and press box, replacing the stadium lights and add lights to the multipurpose field. The amenities building will be made ADA-compliant, and an amphitheater and lacrosse wall will be added.
Additionally, the tennis courts will be reconstructed, and three pickleball courts and a basketball court.
Algonquin senior Jack Gamache, who is the captain of two athletic teams and participates in a third, advocated for the project, saying it’s important for the track to be safe.
“I spend a lot of time at the fields, and I see how much they’re used by not only students, but people in the community,” said Gamache.
He also recalled attending games and seeing some people have to sit on the track or not be able to use the restrooms.
“It’s very important that ADA-compliance, [that] we meet those standards to meet the safety of our students and those that are coming to watch the game as well,” said Gamache.
The project was also approved by Southborough during their March Town Meeting. Northborough’s share is estimated at $4.96 million.
The project was recommended 3-2 by the Appropriations Committee. One of the dissenting voters said the scope of the project was too large.