Town Release Draft RFP For New Skating Rink Prior To Public Meeting

Photo: A sky view of the site where the new ice skating rink will be located.

In preparation of the Monday, Sept. 16 public meeting at the Beech Street Center at 7 p.m. to discuss a new ice skating rink on Concord Avenue, the town has released the draft request for proposal for the public/private project that residents (and possible bidders) can take a fine-tooth comb to.

A myriad of town departments – led by Town Administrator Patrice Garvin – got together after the School Committee gave its OK to build the new rink on school property with the plan of putting the project on a “fast track” where bids for the construction and operation of the building as well as a lease agreement and Town Meeting approval to transfer public land to a private entity and the lease of the land by the end of 2019.

And the town kept to that quick schedule as it expects to have the project, to be built on school department land to the west of Harris Field to be out to bid on Wednesday, Sept. 25.

Highlights of the RFP – see the entire 87-page proposal here – include many of the objectives laid out by the school district and the town during the past four years a proposed building has been floated around town.

  • The facility will be at maximum one and a half sheets of ice with at least 300 spectator seats as well as skate rental, food concession and other amenities, “as appropriate for a high-quality skating facility.”
  • The hours of operation “may be expanded to the whole calendar year to be a year-round operation,” according to the draft RFP. “Ultimately, the hours of operation will be negotiated with the selected respondent.”
  • The facility will have 110 parking spaces – 90 for student use while school is in session and 20 spaces for daytime use by facility patrons.
  • The rink will accommodate four locker rooms: Junior Varsity and Varsity girls’ teams in two rooms with 35 lockers while boys’ JV and Varsity will have two rooms with 45 lockers. Visiting team boys and girls locker rooms will also be needed so that doubleheaders can be played. Both home and visiting locker rooms should include coaches’ offices, showers and storage cabinets.
  • The facility will also include a referee locker room (with showers and bathrooms), athletic training room (including ice machine and exam table), and wet area.
  • In spring and fall, the locker rooms will be used for sports (soccer, field hockey, football, lacrosse, rugby) played at Harris Field and the nearby fields.
  • In addition to the facility, three JV grass athletic fields (they can overlap) for baseball, softball, and soccer will need to be included on the site.
  • The project will undergo Design and Site Plan Review from the Planning Board which is anticipated to take between six to nine months.

Part of the public/private agreement will require the operator to set aside a good chunk of time for the high school hockey teams at no cost to the town or schools. For six days a week, Monday to Saturday, from Thanksgiving to mid-March, the teams will have four hours of continuous ice time from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The town’s Recreation Department will be a “priority user” enabling it to book the facility at a reduced rate for its programs including general skating, stick & puck, and figure skating.

The proposal includes a detailed traffic study which will lead any operator/builder in its parking and traffic plan.

While a very involved proposal, the town and schools will attempt to squeeze the process from initial bidding to final lease negotiation and selecting a builder within two months.

Sept. 25
Request for Proposal/Lease published in 
Central Register
Oct. 9
Pre-Bid Meeting and Site Visit
Oct. 30
Town receives proposals
Oct. 30 – Nov. 4Internal Working Group evaluates proposals
based on criteria identified within the Request for Proposal
Nov. 4
School Committee selects best proposal
Nov. 13
1. Town Meeting votes to lease Site to a private entity(s)
2. Town Meeting votes to amend Zoning By-
2/3s vote required for both actions.
Attendance at Town Meeting is required by the
selected respondent.
Nov. 26
School Committee award contract to the winning
Nov. 27 – Dec. 11School Committee negotiate a lease with selected

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