Frontier Regional moves forward with track replacement project

  • The track at Frontier Regional School is set to be replaced, though the timeline remains uncertain. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • The track at Frontier Regional School is set to be replaced, though the timeline remains uncertain. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Frontier Regional School in South Deerfield. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 4/8/2020 4:31:17 PM
Modified: 4/8/2020 5:10:45 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Frontier Regional School is moving forward with reconstruction plans for its track.

The Capital Planning Subcommittee — which is comprised of one regional school committee member and one Selectboard member from Deerfield, Sunderland, Conway and Whately — unanimously approved a contract with Berkshire Design last week. That would allow Frontier Regional School to progress with plans to replace the track, which Deerfield Selectboard member Trevor McDaniel said hasn’t been resurfaced in about 15 years.

“We got quite a bit out of it,” McDaniel said. “We usually get 10 years or so, and we got all of that and then some.”

But growing safety concerns have put the track at the top of the priority list for capital projects, according to School Committee member Judy Pierce.

“It’s not just used by the school for track season,” Pierce said. “It’s used by a lot of different groups in the community.”

The Frontier Regional School Committee authorized $600,000 in borrowing for the project by a two-thirds vote in April 2019. Subsequently, residents at Town Meeting also approved the borrowing, which represented a portion of the $1.8 million approved for capital projects.

Borrowing for the project will be paid out over a period of 10 years, according to McDaniel. Each town’s contribution is based on enrollment.

Berkshire Design, a design firm based in Northampton, was hired in February after a selection process that involved three other design firms, according to Pierce.

She said three vendors presented before the subcommittee, after which the subcommittee made its recommendation to the Frontier Regional School Committee, which accepted the recommendation.

Pierce said Berkshire Design was chosen in part because it has completed projects of similar size, scope and cost. The subcommittee finalized the contract with Berkshire Design last week.

“We had some guidelines we already set out,” Pierce said. “Our conversation was about how we’re going to stay in that budget and about the scope of the project.”

Once the contract is signed and filed, the survey phase of the project can begin, she explained. The survey phase is followed by the design phase and then permitting.

Finally, the project can be sent out for a bid to find contractors for the job.

Pierce said she was initially hopeful for summer bidding to take place, allowing for construction to begin as soon as late summer. However, given setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the timeline for the project remains uncertain.

McDaniel said the new track will have an anticipated life span of 10 years. Within that time frame — depending on the materials used and the use of the track — it may require resurfacing, which would give the track another few years of use.

Mary Byrne can be reached at or 413-772-0261, ext. 263.

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