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Braintree officials hope to have pool and rink by September 2013

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  June 21, 2012 03:21 PM

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If all goes according to plan, the Petersen Pool and Ice Skating Rink planned for Braintree High School could be operating by late 2013.

According to Chief of Operations and Staff Peter Morin, town officials hope to break ground on the project by Labor Day. From there, a rink would most likely take seven months to install, and a pool 12 months to build.

With that time frame in mind, officials are hoping to release the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the joint project sometime in the next few weeks.

Town officials had released a Request for Interest for the project in April. Despite the strong initial support, only one party submitted an application.

However, Morin said, that one response was all the town needed to move forward.

“We received one response to [the request for interest], and we’re working, based on that response, to drafting an RFP. We anticipate that we will have more than one response to that,” Morin said. “In order to move forward all we needed was one response, [and] we got a good quality one.”

Although the specifications for the design are flexible, Morin suspects that the project will include concession stands, locker rooms, and meeting rooms in addition to the pool and rink.

The pool will be of junior Olympic size - 25 yards long 8 lanes wide - to comply with all Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association requirements. It will also have a diving area.

The rink will also fit MIAA standards, which require it to be similar in size to a National Hockey League rink. However, the number of rinks to be constructed is still largely up in the air, Morin said.

“It could be a seasonal rink that could be converted to use for other sports during the summer, or it could be two, year-round sheets of ice,” Morin said.

For the rink, Morin anticipates approximately 1,000 seats. The pool would have about 200 seats.

The parcel will be constructed on land at Braintree High School, a spot Mayor Joseph Sullivan picked after a decade-long debate about where to put a community swimming pool.

Debate had raged since 1963 when tugboat captain and East Braintree resident August Petersen left $65,000 for the construction of a pool. The funds grew to $1.8 million while residents fought over where in East Braintree to put the facility.

The debate was quelled last year when Sullivan came up with the idea for an athletic facilities complex at the high school.

To streamline the construction process, Braintree officials received permission from the state Legislature to select a single applicant for both the design and construction of the facility.

The applicant will lease the 6.1 acres of land and use $1.5 million of Petersen’s funds for the project. A private entity would then run the facilities while giving priority use to Braintree residents and athletic teams.

“It will be run by a private entity, not by the town, so we’re hoping to all sorts of different concepts,” Morin said about the RFP.

Once bids come in, a review committee will look over the options and make a recommendation to the town.

Overall, “it’s heading in the direction we anticipated and things are going well,” Morin said.

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