City releases draft RFP for new rink ahead of public meeting

Photo: An aerial view of the site where the new skating rink will be located.

In preparation for the Monday September 16 public meeting at the Beech Street Center at 7 p.m. to discuss a new skating rink on Concord Avenue, the city has released the draft Request for Proposal for the public/private project that residents (and potential bidders) can pass with a fine-toothed comb.

A myriad of city departments – led by city administrator Patrice Garvin – came together after the school committee gave its go to build the new rink on school property with the plan to put the project on a “track rapid” where the bids for the construction and operation of the building as well as a lease contract and the approval of the municipal assembly to transfer a public land to a private entity and the lease of the land by the end of 2019.

And the city has stuck to that quick schedule because it expects the project to be built on school department land west of Harris Field to bid on Wednesday, Sept. 25.

Highlights of the RFP—see the full 87-page proposal here—include numerous goals set by the school district and city over the past four years, a proposed building has been launched in the town.

  • The facility will be a maximum of one and a half rinks with at least 300 spectator seats as well as skate rentals, a food concession and other amenities, “as appropriate for a high quality skating facility“.
  • Hours of operation “may be extended throughout the calendar year to be a year-round operation,” according to the draft RFP. “Ultimately, hours of operation will be negotiated with the selected sponsor.”
  • The facility will have 110 parking spaces – 90 for students while school is in session and 20 spaces for daytime use by facility guests.
  • The rink will accommodate four changing rooms: the Junior Varsity and Varsity women’s teams in two rooms with 35 lockers while the JV and Varsity boys will have two rooms with 45 lockers. It will also be necessary to visit the dressing rooms of the boys and girls of the team so that the double programs can be played. Home and visitor changing rooms should include coaches offices, showers and storage cabinets.
  • The facility will also include a referees’ locker room (with showers and toilets), a sports training room (including an ice machine and examination table) and a wet area.
  • During the spring and fall, the locker rooms will be used for sports (soccer, field hockey, football, lacrosse, rugby) played at Harris Field and surrounding fields.
  • In addition to the facility, three JV turf sports fields (they may overlap) for baseball, softball and soccer shall be included on site.
  • The project will undergo a design and site plan review by the planning committee, which is expected to take six to nine months.

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

The city’s recreation department will be a “priority user,” allowing it to book the facility at a reduced rate for its programs, including general skating, stick and puck and figure skating.

The proposal includes a detailed traffic study that will guide any operator/builder in their parking and traffic plan.

Although this is a very involved proposal, the city and schools will seek to reduce the process from initial bidding to final lease negotiation and selection of a builder within two months.

September 25
Request for proposal/lease published in
central registry
October 9
Pre-tender meeting and site visit
October 30
The City receives the proposals
October 30 – November 4 The internal working group evaluates the proposals
based on the criteria identified in the RFP
November 4
The school committee selects the best proposal
November 13
1. The municipal assembly votes to lease the site to a private entity(ies)
2. The municipal assembly votes to modify the zoning by-law-
2/3s vote required for both actions.
Presence at the municipal assembly is required by the
selected respondent.
Tu es.,
November 26
The school committee awards the contract to the winner
November 27 – December 11 The school committee negotiates a lease with

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