Why not renovate?
It depends on the cost, which is dictated by Code of Massachusetts Regulations. Any expense over 30% of a building’s value (so $3.6 million at high school or $1 million at middle school) prevents us from making that repair or replacement unless we bring the rest of the building up to code. For the high school that would cost over $70 million.
What happens if the vote fails?
On Monday, April 29 a Town Hall “yay or nay” vote will be held. If the vote passes, the question will appear on the Monday, May 6 ballot. If the vote doesn’t pass the school district will:
- Continue to use buildings until unable to do so
- When a catastrophic failure occurs follow contingency plan
- District and Towns would then decide on repair options
- Unsure if MSBA will participate, would have to apply again
- Approximate $70 million cost for repairs would need 3 towns approval
- If the repair vote does not go through, that building is permanently closed, and we follow the Long-Term Contingency Plan.
If the high school has all of the problems, why does the middle school need to be replaced?
- Simple answer: Cost
- The middle school is over 50 years old.
- The middle school is having some of the same issues as the high school (e.g. forced to shut down a classroom for the year two weeks ago).
- Focus groups and communities were required by MSBA to consider 7-12 in addition to just a 9-12.
- Cost of new high school and then a new middle school is much more expensive than a combined 7-12.
What will the project cost for me?
What people pay depends on the following:
- District Share of the Project cost
- Interest Rate and Term of Loan
- Town the person lives in
- Number of students in the town
- Property value
What is the significance of the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s (MSBA) $52.7 million reimbursement?
Approximately 20 years ago, district voters turned down a proposal to build a new high school. Since then, the building’s infrastructure has continued to age and is in imminent danger of failure. The district worked extensively over the past five years with the MSBA to develop a cost-effective solution.
How was this design chosen?
Constructing a single 7-12 school building saves taxpayers the cost of building two separate facilities and is the most cost-effective approach long-term.
What assurance is there that the building will be properly built and maintained?
The District’s Project team (Designer, MSBA Commissioning Agents, Owner’s Project Manager, Building Committee and Construction Manager) will oversee the overall quality control during the construction process. There are inherent checks and balances based on each party’s role and responsibility during this process.
After construction is complete, the District Facility Manager will oversee the maintenance and grounds of the building. The District Facility Manager will be following a comprehensive, scheduled preventative maintenance plan for the building as well as a capital plan.
If the district grows, will the building be able to sustain population fluctuations?
Yes. The MSBA worked with Pentucket to develop a comprehensive 10-year enrollment projection, which factors in birthrates, possible housing developments, build-out, students returning from private schools, etc. The building is designed to sustain a student population well within that projection.
Why is the roof flat?
The roof is designed to meet and exceed the new building code for snow loading in the winter.
What does a “yes” vote mean?
- Builds a facility that meets today’s classroom standards and is flexible to support future learning practices.
- Builds a modern, up to code facility engineered to last the district for decades to come.
- Resolves critical infrastructure concerns.
- Accepts a $52.7 million grant from the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) that does not need to be paid back by the taxpayers of Groveland, Merrimac and West Newbury.
What does a “no” vote mean?
- Makes no changes to either building. The current high school building is at risk of failure and, if unaddressed, is likely to leave current students without a high school facility in the coming years.
- Is NOT a vote for repairing or remodeling the existing schools, which would have to be tackled under a new process.
- Refuses the MSBA’s $52.7 million grant.