NORTH SMITHFIELD – Residents concerned about access to athletic facilities at North Smithfield High School received positive news this week with the announcement that the track and basketball courts are open for public use.
The school district issued a flyer with times, parking instructions and guidelines for the facilities on Thursday, March 24.
Concerns followed the recent posting of a mysterious sign at a fence by the fields telling residents to go elsewhere. School Committee Chairman James Lombardi told NRI NOW last week that the sign was not authorized or posted by anyone from the school district, and was likely hung as a joke.
“I know there is some misinformation and wanted to share an update on public usage of the Paul F Joyce Athletic Complex,” noted Lombardi Thursday. “The School Committee has always viewed this complex as a town asset and welcomes public access to the track and basketball courts when not in use by the schools.”
The chairman noted that there are some temporary restrictions on parking due to the construction of the bathrooms and concession stand.
“We appreciate your patience while the facility is renovated,” he noted.
According to the new guidelines, issued amid ongoing improvements to the facilities, walkers can use the track outside of school hours including mornings before 7 a.m., and weekends from dawn to dusk. Turf field use is by permit only and the upper parking lot will be closed through construction, projected to be complete by graduation this year.
“We need do need your assistance as these facilities have been subject to ongoing litter and vandalism,” noted Supt. Michael St. Jean on social media.
The plea noted that people have recently used bolt cutters to unlock nets, dragging them across the new field and creating unnecessary wear and tear and damage.
“With everyone’s cooperation, we can ensure these facilities can be enjoyed by our students and residents for years to come,” St. Jean said.
Complete guidelines can be found below.