After a lengthy discussion and an overview of the project structure and time frame, the BoS on Thursday approved awarding a gym/rec facility feasibility study to UNH under the leadership of Dr. Bob Barcelona and Dr. Boyd Haggerty. According to Dr Barcelona, UNH conducts these studies as a community service and in line with UNH's land grant mission. The fees charged are low, (less then $10,000) but enough to cover expenses and cover the costs of grad students to assist in the project. A recent similar study in Peterborough NH by a private consultant cost in the neighborhood of $50,000.
There are still some loose ends to tie up, but the process will include focus groups, small and large as well as surveys. The BoS discussed means to get the surveys out to as many people as possible including potentially piggy backing to the Village Vision surveys yet to be distributed. It was made clear to the UNH folks that the study needs to include a close look at all facilities, including the schools and neighboring communities.
A major concern the BoS had was that the legislative body approved the site study, but was not asked to approve a feasibility study. What caused me to vote to approve this study was that the need to answer the fundamental question of what it is we truly need outweighed this concern. In addition, the BoS will be directly involved in every step of the process and will be responsible to identify and recruit focus groups and promote public participation to the greatest extent possible. The responsibility for a successful outcome is clearly on the BoS as it should be.
It is anticipated that work will begin in September and completed in November.