WEST NEWBURY — Superintendent Justin Bartholomew is pleased to announce that Pentucket Regional School District has launched an official website about the proposed middle and high school building project.
The website PentucketProject.com will act as an official source of information for residents in Groveland, Merrimac, and West Newbury as they prepare to vote on Monday, April 29 whether to approve the funding request for the project and again in a ballot vote on May 6.
The project needs to be approved by all three towns, in both votes, to move forward. The votes represent the final step in the process.
“We’re excited to share this website as an official resource for residents looking to learn more about the project,” Superintendent Bartholomew said. “It’s important going into town meetings and ballot votes that residents know all the facts about the project, the concerns facing the current middle and high school buildings, and how the details of this project came to be.”
A news blog on the website will be regularly updated with the latest information about the project. The website also includes video recordings of past presentations on the project, which can be seen by clicking here.
The proposed Pentucket Regional School District (PRSD) grades seven through 12 building would replace the current middle and high schools, which were respectively built in 1967 and 1954.
Both buildings are significantly worn and approaching the end of their useful life spans. The high school building faces several infrastructure issues, including an old, corroded plumbing system that is insulated with asbestos and frequently causes flooding and an outdated heating system that a district assessment of its condition revealed is in imminent danger of failing. To learn more about the state of the current buildings, click here.
The project would build a three story, modern facility combining the middle and high schools into one building on a unified campus. This is a more cost effective option than building separate, new middle and high school buildings that exist now.
To examine renderings of the proposed building and learn more about its design, click here.
The total estimated cost of the project is $146.3 million. After ineligible costs are calculated and deducted from the total cost, the district estimates the Massachusetts School Board Authority (MSBA) will fund approximately 40 percent of the project.
The MSBA will announce an official reimbursement amount in April.
At the project reimbursement rate and interest rates, based on the average assessed home value in each town in the district, it is estimated that, should the project move forward, the average Groveland homeowner’s taxes would increase $745, the average Merrimac homeowner’s taxes would increase $734, and the average West Newbury homeowner’s taxes would increase $755.
Four years ago, PRSD was accepted into the MSBA process for the first time since a proposed new high school building was voted down in the late 1990s. Since PRSD was re-accepted by the MSBA, the district has been working with the MSBA to develop the most cost effective plan to meet the needs of the middle and high schools.
“The proposed building would solve the infrastructure concerns in both buildings, and would create a facility that will enhance and support student learning for decades to come,” Superintendent Bartholomew said. “We encourage residents to visit the website, learn about the project being proposed, and consider what the project will mean for future generations of Pentucket students.”
A School Building Committee formed in fall 2016 to oversee the MSBA process, and includes administrators, town officials, selectmen, school committee members, and residents. To learn more about the committee, click here.
To access the website, visit pentucketproject.com.