West Tisbury voters overwhelmingly stated their preference for natural grass for the regional high school athletic fields in a pair of votes at the annual town election Thursday.

Though the overhaul of the high school’s athletic facilities is on hold as the district looks at campus-wide upgrades, voters weighed in on the divisive issue with two non-binding questions asking if new fields should be grass or artificial turf.

The first question asked if the surface moving forward should be turf, as one of the new fields was proposed by the school committee. The results had 52 in favor and 306 opposed. The second question, asking if the design should proceed with grass, was 304 in favor and 51 against.

Non-binding questions on local ballots cannot force officials to act on them, but select board chair Jeffrey “Skipper” Manter previously said the questions would give the school valuable information as the field project is considered.

Also a member of the regional high school committee, Mr. Manter raised the idea of the non-binding referendum questions in January.

“It gives people the opportunity to express their opinion,” he said.

An artificial turf field at the high school has been kicked around for years and resulted in a lawsuit between the school and the Oak Bluffs planning board.

The district gained approval to install one artificial turf field at the high school from the Martha’s Vineyard Commission in 2021, but had its permit denied by the Oak Bluffs board.

The school committee sued the planning board, and eventually had the rejection overturned. But shortly after a planned appeal by the planning board was aborted, the school dropped the field project in order to consider a complete overhaul of the whole school campus.

In February, the school committee rescinded its request for towns to put non-binding questions on the surface on the annual election ballots. West Tisbury was the only town to keep it on the ballot.