Published in the August 4, 2016 edition
By DAN TOMASELLO
NORTH READING — North Reading High School is inching closer to developing a new co-op sports team.
Superintendent of Schools Jon Bernard said last week the high school is “close” to developing a co-op ski team with Haverhill High School. School Committee member Mel Webster, who serves on the Athletic Subcommittee, noted the school board will vote on the new co-op team once the pact between the two schools is finalized.
“It’s something the School Committee will approve at some point,” said Webster.
It would be the fourth co-op team offered at the high school if it gets approved. The high school currently has a co-op wrestling team with Lynnfield High School, which has been a powerhouse for a number of years. The high school also has a co-op girls’ gymnastics team with Danvers High School and a co-op girls’ hockey team with Peabody and Lynnfield.
Finance Director Michael Connelly said Town Administrator Michael Gilleberto has begun developing request for quotations (RFQ) as part of the process for hiring an architect for the bathroom project at Arthur J. Kenney Field.
Town Meeting voters approved allocating $50,000 in order to design a bathroom facility at the turf field. The town must construct a new bathroom facility at Kenney Field because the state plumbing board has determined the new high school does not meet the state code because NRHS is too far away from the field. The old high school, which was in close proximity to the field, met the state’s requirements.
There are currently port-a-potties at Kenney Field for the public to use when attending sporting events at the field.
At June Town Meeting, Selectman Stephen O’Leary said the turf field has been out of compliance with state regulations for bathrooms at the field since 2009 but a state waiver had been in place for most of that period. The state is willing to continue the waiver as long as the town shows progress in working toward constructing the bathrooms, which could cost up to $500,000.
Webster said local officials are considering several options, including building a facility with bathrooms only or a facility with both bathrooms and a concession stand. Another possibility, Webster said, would be to convert the team room into a bathroom facility and construct a new building for storage purposes.
Due to a lack of student interest, Bernard said the high school did not open the fitness center for secondary students this summer.
Earlier this spring, Bernard proposed making the fitness center available for use by secondary students throughout the summer as long as there was a “sufficient number of students registered” for the program. Students would be charged a one-time fee of $100 to use the fitness center, which would have been open in the morning hours. The fee was necessary to fully cover the cost of having a faculty member supervise the program.