State approves Wareham school building project

Jun 28, 2018

Plans for a proposed $90 million school, which would replace Minot Forest Elementary, will soon be getting more detailed following approval from the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s board of directors on Wednesday, June 27.

The state authority helps fund public school renovations and new construction. On Wednesday, members moved the project into the “schematic design phase.”

In this phase, the Massachusetts School Building Authority and Wareham Public Schools officials will work to draft detailed designs for the potential project.

Currently, draft plans call for constructing a 159,100 square foot building for students in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade to replace Minot Forest and Decas Elementary Schools. The building would be located where Minot Forest is located now.

“Thanks to our collaborative work with local officials, we are working to build a 21st century educational facility that will provide Wareham students with a top-notch learning environment,” said State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg.

The new school is needed to replace Minot, which is beset with structural problems and requires significant upgrades for security, electrical wiring and fire safety.

Plans call for completing a design in time for voters to consider approving a debt exclusion at the October 2018 Town Meeting. If approved, Wareham voters would have to OK funding the school during the state's Nov. 6 election as a ballot question. The debt exclusion would raise taxes on residents to pay for the project for the life of the debt.

At April Town Meeting in 2017, voters approved the borrowing of $1 million to fund a feasibility study. The feasibility study explored different options for revamping the school and is a requirement of the Massachusetts School Building Authority, which will reimburse the town approximately $56 million for the project’s construction cost. The town will have to pay approximately $39 million.

 

Comments (19)
Posted by: Doctor Deekas | Jun 29, 2018 09:23

So there's Wareham left with a $51 million dollar bill to pay for this one building! Just a few years back, our whole Town budget was $51 million!! Who really thinks this amount of money is going to pass the ballot box? It's well out of what the taxpayers in Wareham can afford. We have 'pothole ahead' signs because we can't even fix potholes!



Posted by: cranky pants | Jun 29, 2018 13:16

Good thing we've got all this 40B coming, because young families with children certainly aren't going to be able to afford to live in this town on their own without some assistance.



Posted by: Andrea Smith | Jun 29, 2018 14:54

Wesprojinfo - I understand that the school building committee members poured their hearts and souls into bringing forth a proposal for a new elementary school that they believe will best service the needs of Wareham's elementary school children and be the best possible fit for the town. I also understand that at this time there are a number of reasons why any school building committee (not just Wareham's) would want to focus voters’ attention on the proposed new school’s design attributes rather than upon the potential financial impact the new school could have upon individual real estate tax bills.

However, there’s an undercurrent of tax payer panic running through Wareham. The majority of people who pay Wareham’s real estate taxes are not wealthy people. No one wants to deny children a safe, comfortable, accessible learning environment. But a lot of people just don’t know how given life’s circumstances they are going to be able to afford the impact that the proposed new school would have upon their individual real estate taxes. Real estate tax payers who live in the Onset Fire/Water District are already facing a property tax increase to cover a new $8 million fire station.  And Wareham Fire/Water District tax payers are facing: 1) the unknowns of property tax increases to cover a new water treatment plant (last estimate $12.5 million) which will cause graduated real estate tax increases of yet unknown amounts over the next three years, 2) a projection of soon-to-begin “miles and miles” of district water pipe repair/replacement and 3) a 35 percent increase in water fees, the impact of which won’t be clear until December’s six month water bill comes in the mail...approximately one month after the school building committee’s proposed date for a ballot vote on the new school proposal.

A simple answer to a very basic cost-related question would at least give real estate tax payers a time frame within which to anticipate receiving the information necessary to better understand the financial impact that the proposed new school would have upon their individual annual real estate tax bill. Hopefully having that time frame will help those who have financial concerns to focus on design details and benefits now and on personal financial impact within a time frame when that information will be available.

So I ask again a question that I have posted but has gone unanswered in other comment sections to which you have actively contributed responses:

“By approximately what date will there be sufficient Minot project-related financial information available in order for real estate tax payers to be given a reasonably accurate projection of the cost impact upon their individual real estate tax bills?

In other words, the cost to individual real estate tax payers per $1000 of their evaluation (assessment?)”



Posted by: Curiouscat | Jun 29, 2018 15:40

Andrea I think the reason your question isn't getting answered is because you, me and the other taxpayers aren't going to like the answer.  I am tired of seeing my taxes go up every year. Last time I questioned why I was told because I live in a "desirable" area.  Been here over forty years.  This whole new school proposal has been handled poorly from the very beginning.  I do feel we are being forced into this.  I still don't think the portables at Decas is going to happen just like the 30 layoffs didn't happen.  Trouble is once Minot is closed I don't think it can abracadabra open again.  I would still rather see a vocational school built to keep our kids from jumping ship once they hit high school.  I use to love this town but lately I find myself disgusted by what is happening.



Posted by: Peaches0409 | Jun 29, 2018 16:29

Curious, when they decided to move the 3-7 grade to the middle school they said the portables weren't going to be needed. This was months ago.



Posted by: thkng60@yahoo.com | Jun 30, 2018 06:22

We will be paying for the rest of our lives. T he project will be over budget , if it is like all other school projects. We are going to need both of these schools in the very near future, with all these new apartments. What are they going to do then? ask for money for another. Good Luck passing this, again. i'm a NO vote on this,



Posted by: desertsky | Jun 30, 2018 06:45

It should be a NO vote from all of us who actually pay taxes in this town. Services are minimal or non existant.."the kids" aren't the only priority here and frankly many of us are tired of funding projects that aren't part of OUR future. We have been paying for the futures of everyone while we struggle to pay our taxes. Enough!

This town needs to take a longer look at the big picture here.

 

 



Posted by: cranky pants | Jun 30, 2018 07:26

This new project idea certainly is someone's pet project. It's a monstrosity that will require major excavation at that Minot site complete with two entrances and exits that dump onto Minot ave. Thanks for the added traffic.

Have any studies been done as to where all the flat water is going to run during a storm ? You're creating an awful lot of surface area there. I've seen both project pictures, the first one was a joke and the updated " approved " plan isn't much better.

This should be a NO vote for the taxpayers and the Dr. Devil herself should go back to Blackstone or wherever it was that she failed first.



Posted by: Curiouscat | Jun 30, 2018 14:28

She'll probably be the next to leave because when this new school is voted down she's going to look like a jerk.  She might to able to control the school committee but has no weight with the tax payers.  So Peaches am I to "assume" we don't need the portables because there is enough room for all the students at the other schools?  Isn't this kind of showing we don't need a new school?  What will the $800,000.00 that was going to be used for purchasing the portables be used for now?  Maybe to pay for all the overtime being spent on the workers working round the clock (even on weekends) to pack everything up and move.  One good note, received my tax bill today and it actually went down by a hundred bucks.



Posted by: Uptohere | Jun 30, 2018 15:52

I would be tempted to vote yes if hood leaves first!!



Posted by: cranky pants | Jul 01, 2018 09:30

It's Shaver - Hood...

Don't forget the Dash...

Anyone with a dash, and two last names is wicked important, just ask them... They will tell you how important they are and how they needed two last names.

Geeks.



Posted by: Steve Holmes | Jul 01, 2018 10:27

Folks debating the school building is one thing, personal attacks on Kimberly Shaver Hood is another and quite frankly not related to the new school. This building has been going downhill in maintenance for many years long before Kim arrived. She has been trying to get money to fix buildings in the District. We elect a school board that, although there are many new faces, have watched this school fall apart. This is going to be a difficult vote for the Yes folks. With Town, District and Sewer cost on the rise, how much more can the taxpayers kick in. Wareham needs to continue to fight the battle over calculating our State reimbursement per student. And go to the Building Committee and see if we can get more money for this new school. Town officials know this is going to be a tough sell to the voters. I do think that the process used and decisions made in advance of the vote, were a mistake. The vote will pass Town Meeting. But will most likely fail on the November ballot. More than wanting to know how much per thousand it will be, I have asked another question which has not been answered, what is the School Committee plan if they get a no vote in November. Voters have a way of voting no when they feel they are being pressured.



Posted by: WESProjInfo | Jul 02, 2018 11:09

Many comments above are identical from the prior Wareham Weekly article and are answered there (https://wareham-ma.villagesoup.com/p/wareham-school-building-committee-presents-plans-to-selectmen/1759430).  We are going to create a FAQ section on the project's website and will share a link shortly.

 

To clarify project budget see below, information in both the article and the comments above is not accurate:

  • Total project cost: ~$90.3M
  • Estimated MSBA grant: ~$50.8M
  • Wareham share: ~$39.5M



Posted by: WESProjInfo | Jul 03, 2018 12:17

All - thank you very much for your enthusiasm and interest in the project thus far, the community engagement and project related questions/comments are appreciated, regardless of where you may stand when it comes time to vote.

 

As promised, below is a link to the new project website, including a comprehensive list of FAQs which should address many of the comments received to-date.

 

http://newschool.warehamps.org/



Posted by: Andrea Smith | Jul 03, 2018 12:54

Wesprojinfo - I copied and pasted the link you provided and tried it in two search engines and all that came up was the Wareham Public Schools webpage. I couldn't fine a link to FAQs on the page.



Posted by: WESProjInfo | Jul 05, 2018 09:19

Andrea - Not sure?  I just tried it using both Internet Explorer and Google Chrome and  and it popped right up on both.  If/when you get it to open there is a FAQ link at the top of the main page header.



Posted by: JohnnyQuahog | Jul 05, 2018 10:23

The links showed up fine for me using a variety of desktop browsers.  To go directly to the URL just append "/faq" or "faq" depending on whether the slash is already the last character in the string.  Hope this helps.



Posted by: Andrea Smith | Jul 05, 2018 10:37

Wesprojinfo - Did a Google search for: http://newschool.warehamps.org/

Got this as First Option which took me to the Wareham Schools Home Page where I did not find a FAQs option:

Wareham Public Schools / Homepage

https://www.warehamps.org/

A letter from Dr. Kimberly Shaver-Hood regarding the grade re-configuration and upcoming meeting dates and information for parents can be viewed here.

Missing: newschool ‎| ‎Must include: ‎newschool

Returned to above option and noting bottom line, "Missing new school must include new school"

Clicked on newschool:

Got this:

Your search - http://"newschool".warehamps.org/ - did not match any documents.

Suggestions:

Make sure all words are spelled correctly.

Try different keywords.

Try more general keywords.

Try fewer keywords

I found a link to the following through the facebook page:

https://www.warehamps.org/schoolbuildingproject

But too few questions and answers there to be the FAQs that I imagine you to have put together from questions and comments on Wareham Week



Posted by: WESProjInfo | Jul 05, 2018 15:42

Hi Andrea - new page just went live so probably isn't in google's database yet.  Just copy and paste either of the web addresses below into your web browser.  We'll update the Facebook page link momentarily.

 

http://newschool.warehamps.org/

http://newschool.warehamps.org/faq/

 



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