Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Council agrees to special legislation request for Braintree High Complex

Special legislation is heading to the State House that would allow the town to streamline the pool and ice rink proposal at Braintree High School by calling for a "design-build" approach, potentially saving taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The Town Council on Tuesday night voted unanimously to file the legislation, which if approved by the House, Senate and governor, would mean Braintree could solicite bids in which the same company designs, constructs and operates the complex in a public-private partnership for up to 50 years.
"This is a well-thought-out plan and hopefully the end result is a pool and skating rink that will bring a lot of enjoyment to the residents of Braintree," council president Charles Ryan said.
Giving bidders the ability to design what they may also build and operate could save Braintree as much as $500,000, Mayor Chief of Staff and Operations Peter Morin said at the last council meeting in June, and will work better for businesses than the town coming up with a plan itself and hoping to find a match.
"That doesn't really make sense," Morin said. "Let the private sector design it in a way that will be profitable, as long as it meets the needs of the town."
The town will contribute to the project $1.5 million of the $1.9 million that has accumulated in an account since Capt. August Julius Petersen donated $65,000 to Braintree for the construction of a public pool nearly 50 years ago. Remaining funds are earmarked for improvements at Watson Park.
Rep. Mark Cusack, D-Braintree, said after the vote that he will file the legislation jointly by the end of this week with Sen. John Keenan, D-Quincy, and Sen. Brian A. Joyce, D-Milton.
Cusack said he expects quick passage through the House and then approval by the Senate and governor in time for the town to put the project out to bid in early fall.
Under a potential contract, the town will retain ownership of the land, between the football field and Granite Street, and will be able to take over or re-bid the property if the operator doesn't comply with the terms, Morin said at the last meeting. The contract will also require the operator to set aside time for public use of the faciltities, including for youth and school teams.
At the end of the lease, the buildings revert back to the town because they will be on publicly-owned land, Town Solicitor Carolyn Murray said on Tuesday.
"They literally hand over the keys to us," Murray said. She added that the possibility of a 50-year lease allows more time for the company to break even.