AYER -- School officials are eyeing an updated athletics complex to match the modern building at Ayer Shirley Regional High School.

The $6.75 million project was the focus of a Monday Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce breakfast and tour at the high school.

"If we're spending that money let's make sure that it helps everyone," said School Committee Vice Chair Jonathan Deforge.

The plan, which was approved by the committee in January, is to expand the track to eight lanes, put in synthetic turf for the football field, add additional soccer fields, and relocate the softball field. In addition to field improvements, the project proposes new bleachers, lighting, a concessions stand, and bathrooms.

Athletic facilities were not part of the high school's 2012 renovation plans. Field upgrades would not have been reimbursed by the Massachusetts School Building Authority.

The committee plans to bring the project to Fall Town Meeting. Ayer and Shirley voters would need to approve a 10-year debt exclusion to fund the project.

To help offset some of the cost for taxpayers, the district will sell naming rights for the athletic facilities. It will be $750,000 to name the entire complex. Individual parts, such as the stadium would cost $350,000.

Chair Dan Gleason hopes that the upgraded fields can help expand the school's sports programs.

He led attendees on a tour of the athletic facilities and pointed where some of the upgrades would be made.


The high school currently has a football field, track, baseball diamond, softball diamond, and a practice field.

Soccer is one of the school's most popular sports, but the school doesn't have a dedicated soccer field. The four teams use the practice fields.

The project would also ensure that the fields are safe for students to play on, allow for simultaneous games, and offer a better fan experience, Deforge said.

Of all the athletic facilities, the track is in need of the most repair. Fixing it would have triggered the need for other updates, like bleachers that are accessible for people disabilities, that can cost more than $1 million.

The School Committee decided it would be better to upgrade the fields and track at once, Deforge said.

District Superintendent Mary Malone showed breakfast attendees around the high school.

The tour went through the auditorium, band room, and art wing. The group also visited several classrooms where guitar class, ceramics, and graphic design were going on.

Athletics Director Jon Sweeney showed business leaders the gymnasium and weight room.