Haverhill High School’s brand-new multi-purpose athletic field came in $71,000 under budget, and on Tuesday, Mayor James J. Fiorentini plans to ask Haverhill’s City Council to use those unspent funds to pay for the school’s new running track.
According to Haverhill High Athletic Director Tom O’Brien, the current 20-year-old track—cracked and torn in many places—presents a danger to runners and must be replaced rather than patched.
“We’ve patched it at least six times and it can’t be patched anymore,” O’Brien said. “It’s at the end of its life.”
At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Fiorentini intends to outline the design study that he and O’Brien will commission as a starting point for the new track, that will include an additional eighth running lane on the straight-away and new lanes for the high-jump, triple jump and pole vault.
The overall project is expected to cost $400,000 to $500,000 with construction beginning this summer, Fiorentini said.
Fiorentini and O’Brien hope to expedite the construction process for safety reasons.
“There have been a lot of big-money requests for capital projects lately,” Fiorentini said. “We can’t do everything, but the athletic director said this is his top priority and he has convinced me that we need a new track as soon as possible. Our high school athletes deserve a safe and usable track and we’re going to get it for them.”
O’Brien and the Haverhill High Athletics staff plan to hold a grand opening for the new $1.6 million field—complete with a softball diamond and full-sized fields for soccer, field hockey and lacrosse—this Friday.