Northshire Community Recreation Center Launch Party and Open House planned for October 23, 2021
The Northshire and Mountain Communities are invited to a Launch Party and Open House for the proposed Northshire Community Field House. Please join us on Saturday, October 23 (rain date October 24) from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM at the Park House at the Manchester Rec Park. It’s a family friendly event with hot dogs, Wilcox ice cream, soft drinks and activities for kids. Come take a look. The Field House will be staked out with information and drawings available about the project.
The Field House development is being facilitated by the Right Track Foundation, working with the Town of Manchester and will offer year-round recreational opportunities to residents of both the mountain and valley towns, in addition to visitors to the area. With the Right Track Foundation providing a significant lead gift, seeing the Field House through to completion will require the participation of area towns, businesses and individual donors.
The Field House will serve a multi-town footprint, promote lifelong health and fitness, and offer a setting for social interaction for all age groups. It will provide a broad range of programming from young children to seniors.
The Northshire Community Field House, designed by Kirk Moore of BMA Architects and Planners, will house three multipurpose courts, pickleball courts, a fitness area, state-of-the-art climbing tower, locker rooms and a regulation 200 meter track. The courts are designed to be flexible and can be used for basketball, pickleball, volleyball, and indoor soccer. In addition, the courts can be used for children’s programs, indoor baseball practice, lacrosse practice, sports training clinics, and more. There is also community meeting space for senior and youth activities and programs.
The idea for a multipurpose building has been percolating in the area for over twenty years. Seventeen years ago, a Community Center Committee was formed to investigate the idea, which included public input. At the same time, John O’Keefe, Manchester Town Manager, has been tracking ongoing feedback about the need for an indoor athletic facility and additional amenities from the Rec Committee and various Rec Park user groups. The discussion has always included the need for a safe, convenient gathering space for teens and seniors. O’Keefe stated, “We’ve heard for many years about the overwhelming need for more accessible indoor recreation and social space, especially given our long, cold winters. This spacious facility, something no town could build on its own, will serve all generations and effectively provide a teen center, senior center and community center all under one roof in a central location.” O’Keefe continued, “This facility will allow for the expansion of youth services through after school programs, evening and weekend programs. It will serve equally to provide cultural, educational, fitness and wellness opportunities for area residents from toddlers to seniors.”
Visits to other fitness and recreation facilities have been completed with in-depth discussions about the most popular, heavily-utilized amenities, operations, and membership frameworks. With this background, and other community input, the design of this indoor facility will serve all of these clearly established needs.
Billy Brownlee, principal of H. N. Williams Department Store in Dorset, and a member of the Rec Committee commented, “The new fieldhouse will be a tremendous asset to area residents and an economic driver for the entire Northshire and mountain towns. This will be a great resource for athletes of all ages and abilities to stay active year round and will improve the health and well being of the larger community.”
Dave Quesnel, former chair of the Rec Committee added, “I have a passion for keeping people active and engaged. Older people can become isolated, especially during the winter. This facility is as much about social interaction as it is physical activity.”
Bill Drunsic, representing the Right Track Foundation said, “We have been working on this idea for a long time and it is exciting to see the project move forward. We have helped make other recreation-oriented improvements for the area and believe the Field House will be an incredible addition to the region’s existing opportunities.” Drunsic continued, “My family is committed to this area and to giving local people access to a variety of recreational and social opportunities to build more connected, healthy communities. I particularly love that this facility will do that across town lines. If the region wants this, we will help make it happen.”
The projected cost of the 67,000 sq. ft. facility is $13,250,000 and is now at a stage to move forward to construction as soon as permitting is complete and funding is in place. The Right Track Foundation has committed $3,000,000 to the project, as well as covering all costs associated with the design and permitting of the building. The balance of funding to build the facility will come from a combination of public and private investment. Local towns will have the option to participate in the capital funding of the project in exchange for their residents being provided very affordable membership rates and priority for facility use. Bringing the project to completion will also require financial support from area businesses and individuals. The Right Track Foundation is working with the firm of Gubb & Bongartz Nonprofit Consulting to move the project forward. For more information please visit the project website at: northshirefieldhouse.org or send an email with your questions to email@example.com.