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UD-3 endorses $400,000 for teams rooms addition

MIDDLEBURY — Addison Central Supervisory Union residents on Tuesday voted 1,698 to 1,343 in favor of a $400,000 bond to build a “team rooms” addition onto a new Middlebury recreation center that is to be erected on a 2.5-acre parcel off Creek Road.
The addition will be a little less than 2,000 square feet and will principally host a total of four team rooms for home and visiting student-athletes who use the surrounding Middlebury College-owned playing fields. Those fields are used by Middlebury-area teams for a variety of sports. The self-contained addition will also include restrooms, shower facilities and storage space.
Tuesday’s vote follows a vote at the Feb. 25 annual UD-3 meeting at which residents of the seven ACSU-member towns agreed to allow the UD-3 board to negotiate a lease with the town of Middlebury to build the 11,500-square-foot recreation center on the Creek Road parcel. It was more than a decade ago that UD-3 — which encompasses Middlebury Union Middle and High schools — purchased the parcel from Middlebury American Legion Post 27 for around $275,000.
Fans of the addition, including UD-3 board Chairman Leonard Barrett, said the project will give much-needed changing, restroom and shelter amenities to athletes. Many of those athletes must currently change clothes in the Creek Road parking lot or in the adjacent woods, and have no refuge (except for in the softball dugouts) from passing storms. The new recreation center will replace the old Legion headquarters building, which is unusable.
Critics of the recreation center are concerned it will be located too far outside of the downtown; might not adequately serve seniors; and might become an adjunct gym for Middlebury Union High School students. Town and UD-3 officials have pledged to draft a “shared use agreement” for the facility. The team rooms addition will only be used by student-athletes.
The $400,000 bond will be paid by taxpayers in the ACSU-member towns of Bridport, Cornwall, Middlebury, Ripton, Salisbury, Shoreham and Weybridge. The cost of the recreation center will be absorbed by Middlebury taxpayers and Middlebury College, which has agreed to underwrite $4.5 million of the combined $6.5 million construction bond for the new center and new municipal offices at 77 Main St. in return for two town-owned parcels (see related story).
Barrett said he was pleased to see the team rooms addition earn voter support, though he would have preferred to see a wider margin of victory.
“I am glad voters supported what we have tried to do here,” said Barrett, who was also pleased with the 2,111 to 936 vote in favor of the proposed UD-3 budget of $17,064,779.
“It shows that people in UD-3 are comfortable with what we are trying to do for the kids.”
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].
 

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