Numerous organizations have expressed an interest in designing and building an ice skating rink and pool at Braintree High School as town officials work to get the new athletic complex up and running by February 2013.
The first formal indication of interest is due May 18, when designers and builders are to respond to what's known as a "Request for Interest,'' submitting a proposal of what they would like to see built on the site and how it might work with the town.
Although the request for such proposals was only issued last week, several companies have already come forward looking for more information on the project.
The process is the first true step in the saga to get the pool and skating rink built at Braintree High School, money for which was given to the town by tugboat captain August Peterson in 1963.
Since then, the funding has accrued considerable interest, and after working with East Braintree residents for years to decide where to put the facility, Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan finally decided in 2010 to plan for the projects at Braintree High.
Now that new legislation - allowing one company to apply for the design and construction of the project simultaneously - was approved by the state legislature in 2011, the town can get to work choosing a company to do the work.
Chief of Staff and Operations Peter Morin wasn’t sure how many responses to expect when the town started the process, but already several people have picked up the plans.
“Whether they will respond or not I don’t know, but we’ve gotten several inquiries,” Morin said.
The intent for request interest from companies, rather than going a traditional route of requesting plans, is to enable the town to see what’s available before sending out a request for bids, Morin said.
“We’re hoping to form a number of different concepts, whether the developer proposes one sheet of ice and a pool, two sheets of ice, if the rink is seasonal or year round, and what kind of compensation the town would received. We’re flexible on those aspects,” Morin said. “Because it will be designed, built and operated by a private entity, we want those parties interested in building it to come up with their proposals, show them to us, and based on what we see, we can tailor the request for proposals to the ideas that best meet Braintree’s needs.”
Regardless of the specifics of the rink operation, Braintree is still looking to get primary hours of use for school, youth, and community programs.
“We’ll pay market rated but we want primary hours for school, youth, and community programs, and we want open swim and skate programs included in the business. We want to have some method of compensation for allowing our 6.1 acres of land to be leased and the $1.5 million in funding for construction,” Morin said.
With so much interest, officials hope to see the process move along quickly from here.
After the town hears from interested parties, it most likely won't release a request for plans until June. Most likely, a company would be chosen to design and build the project in July.
“Right after we award [construction would start]. They say it takes 7 months for construction of a rink, they would probably start right away, so July and August they would be building,” Morin said.
No other money would have to be raised in the endeavor.
“Mayor [Joseph Sullivan] is looking forward to seeing the responses,” Morin said. “There’s definitely a substantial amount of interest that’s already been demonstrated informally, and we look forward to seeing proposals being articulated that we can chose from.”