N.S. schools looks to partner with WWIS for concession management, indoor sports venue
Games News

N.S. schools looks to partner with WWIS for concession management, indoor sports venue

NORTH SMITHFIELD – With high school sports games set to begin in the coming weeks, the North Smithfield School Committee has approved a short-term vendor agreement to get the new concession stand by the athletic fields up and running.

And the district is negotiating a possible long-term contract with town-based business Wide World of Indoor Sports to provide not only concessions, but also a long list of services that includes a shared facility agreement, providing a potential alternative venue for student sports teams in the case of inclement weather.

The committee unanimously approved a 45-day contract for concessions with Cagney’s Food Service at their meeting on Tuesday, August 16, also authorizing Supt. Michael St. Jean to negotiate an agreement with WWIS as the, “sole provider,” for longer term multiple field-related needs.

“We don’t have a lot of time until that field is starting to be used for games, and we don’t have anything in place for food services and concessions,” St. Jean told the committee in his pitch for the short-term vendor.

Cagney’s, St. Jean noted, currently operates concessions at WWIS, a privately-owned Pound Hill Road sports center, and has numerous contracts with other private and municipal clients. The Cranston-based food service vendor was approved to help the district start off the school year, while school officials negotiate a more permanent arrangement with WWIS.

The superintendent said the potential partnership with the town-based business came about because the district has been looking for a company to serve as manager for the recently refurbished track and turf field, and handle billing, rentals, scheduling, video streaming and more.

“We would also like that company to be able to provide concession service along with staffing, point of sale,” he said. “We cannot find anybody that can offer everything that we’re looking for under one umbrella.”

Opened in 2010, Wide World of Indoor sports hosts fields suited for soccer, lacrosse, flag football, baseball, softball, girls field hockey, volleyball, Wiffle Ball and more for youth and adult leagues. The business, owned by Dan Fawcett, also has a second location in North Kingstown opened in 2012.

The stand, built by Green Development, LLC, were recently dubbed complete in a collaboration with that privately-owned solar company to provide a structure that also offers bathroom facilities.

“It would be no cost to the district,” St. Jean said of the potential partnership. “In fact, it would be revenue-generating. They would like to partner with us. We would like to partner with them.”

In a vote on Tuesday, committee members designated WWIS as the “sole provider,” of the needed field services, a phrase that provides legal means around the competitive bidding process when only one appropriate partner exists for a given contract.

School Committee Chairman James Lombardi recused himself from the vote, later telling NRI NOW that his son plays soccer at the venue, and that while that is likely not a conflict he, “wanted to be cautious.”

“We cannot find anybody that offers this full set of services,” St. Jean said. “It will help us generate revenue from the fields. If we’re parsing this out to all these different vendors than we don’t have that profit share in place.”

St. Jean said that once negotiated, the complete agreement will come back before the School Committee for final approval.

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