Sprint is on to Fix Crumbling Oakmont Track

July 21, 2018

By Mina Corpuz

mcorpuz@sentinel andenterprise.com

ASHBURNHAM -- The regional school committee will work with town officials to decide whether to pursue repairs for the track and field at Oakmont Regional High School.

“We have got to do something now,” said Superintendent Gary Mazzola at the committee’s meeting on Monday. “This is as big as the time with what happened with the override. We needed to move it and everyone to come together.”

Safety concerns for users and the deteriorating condition of the track and field are factors driving the effort.

“The problem is if we don’t do something now, everyone knows the risk we take with that field,” said committee member Michelle Gianino.

Preliminary costs to resurface the track and update the field would be about $750,000, according to the committee.

Depending on how the repairs are funding, the district may need approval from residents in Ashburnham and Westminster.

One option is to work the repairs into the school budget by borrowing money from state bonds, Mazzola said.

Grants, fundraising, and sponsorships could help with some of the cost, he said.

Vice Chair David Christianson asked why repairs are a priority now when they weren’t part of the school’s previous capital planning budget.

Mazzola said the upcoming capital budget can’t afford to pay for the repairs over the next decade.

The School Committee formed an ad hoc subcommittee to make recommendations about repairing the track and field and report back to the board by Oct. 15.

Representatives from both towns including selectmen, Advisory Board members, the town administrators, and School Committee members will be appointed to the sub-committee.

Its goal should be to bring a starting proposal to the table, Christianson said.

“This is a two-town problem and a district problem,” he said.

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