After many deliberations, the Town Council voted to approve funding for the construction of new athletic facilities for North Attleborough High School.
The council voted seven to one to allocate up to $5 million for the project during a special meeting on June 30. This decision followed the Finance Subcommittee voting unanimously on the decision during its June 29 meeting.
Councillor JoAnn Cathcart–who chairs the subcommittee—said she was pleased members voted to fund the project, even though there were concerns regarding the cost and scope. The deciding factor, she said, was the likelihood that the price would continue to rise if the committee continued to hold off on approval.
“There was quite a discussion and it lasted for a very long time,” Cathcart said. “This project needs to be done, never going to get cheaper—and we have, for the first time in many many years, been able to afford this project..”
Originally, the plan was to rebuild the bleachers and track at the Ray Beaupre Field. In 2021, School Superintendent Dr. John Antonucci reviewed the project and discovered a lack of consideration regarding plumbing codes, the concession stands at the site, storage concerns, and ADA compliance.
As such, in April of that year, a master plan was constructed by Nersa Engineering, which focused on track replacement, bleacher replacement, a press box and lift addition, toilets, lavatories, and fencing. This raised the cost of the project from $1.8 million already allocated to $5 million.
Cathcart said that of the $5 million, $2.6 million will come from American Rescue Plan Act funds. The remaining $1.4 million will either come from re-certified Free Cash the town would receive in October of this year or will borrow money in the form of bonds.
“We anticipate more than enough to be able to fund the 1.4,” she said. “We also have a great deal of capacity to borrow. Our bond rating is Double-A Plus.”
Following the council’s vote, the next steps will be to award contracts to potential bidders. There are currently three bids from developers for the bleacher replacement project and two for the track replacement project.