Battle over $1.6 million Hollis Brookline artificial turf project goes to court

NASHUA – Opponents of a Hollis Brookline Cooperative School District proposal to replace a grass athletic field with artificial turf have taken their case to court.

According to court records, a group headed by Hollis resident Eliza Lecours brought suit recently against the cooperative school district, which governs the Hollis Brookline Middle School and Hollis Brookline High School, which students from both towns attend.

The plaintiffs filed the suit in the wake of the March school district meeting, during which voters approved the warrant article for the $1.6 million artificial turf project by a mere three votes.

Because it was a bonded warrant article, the proposal needed a two-thirds majority vote to pass. With 801 ballots cast, the measure needed 534 votes to pass; it received 537.

The sides are currently awaiting rulings by Judge Charles Temple on two matters pending before him, the court records indicate.

One will be in response to a recent hearing on the merits, a proceeding at which each side is given the opportunity to argue in support of its case and present any evidence.

Temple will also rule on the school district’s motion to dismiss the case, which it filed May 16, and on the plaintiffs’ objection, filed May 25.

Neither the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Nashua attorney Gerald Prunier, nor attorney James O’Shaughnessy, who is representing the school district, could be reached for comment Thursday.

Leading up to the school district’s March meeting, the artificial turf proposal was one of the most discussed, and hotly debated, measures to go before voters.

Likewise, the other bonded article, calling for the expenditure of $1.9 million to build a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) robotics lab and fitness center, drew its share of discussion.

By the time of the school district meeting, voters still had plenty to say about both articles, spending the first three and a half hours of the meeting discussing them.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-1256, dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DeanS.