State officials to vote on plans for new Wareham elementary school on June 27

By Meghan Neely | Jun 07, 2018

Wareham Public Schools Business Manager Michael MacMillan said that plans for a new elementary school project are moving along smoothly pending state approval later this month.

The project would combine an aging Minot Forest and Decas Elementary into one school. Minot is beset with a wide range of structural issues, and upgrades are required for security, electrical wiring and fire safety. Additional classroom space, new windows, boilers, floors and ceilings are needed as well.

The new school is slated to be built where Minot is located, creating space for 1,020 students.

MacMillan said he met with state officials prior to Wednesday’s committee meeting to review plans for the new three-story, $90 million elementary school and was encouraged by what he saw. Approval of the plan is required for state reimbursement of 71.58% of the school's cost.

“They were very impressed with the design,” MacMillan said. “Everything went well.”

The Massachusetts School Building Authority is scheduled to vote on the plans for the new school June 27 after further assessment. If they are approved, Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Shaver-Hood said officials will start an outreach campaign to inform the public.

Current plans call for completing the design process in time for voters to consider a debt exclusion at the October 2018 Town Meeting.

If approved, the issue would go before local voters for final approval 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.

For the time being, however, Shaver-Hood said that teachers in both schools have received boxes and are preparing for the move.

“We’re checking in with the principals weekly,” Shaver-Hood said.

The school committee also received a $15,000 donation from the Parent Teacher Association for a new playground at the completed elementary school.

Shaver-Hood said a location for the playground has yet be chosen, but the committee plans on making the new structure accessible to a variety of age ranges and abilities.


Comments (15)
Posted by: cranky pants | Jun 08, 2018 07:35

And if the town's people vote no ?

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Jun 08, 2018 09:21

"For the time being, however, Shaver-Hood said that teachers in both schools have received boxes and are preparing for the move."


I heard they were not only given boxes, but that they were also told they were responsible for packing and providing storage for the contents of their classrooms for the summer.

Posted by: cranky pants | Jun 08, 2018 17:31

She's out of her mind...

Posted by: yourmonkeysuncle | Jun 10, 2018 07:01

What we're really looking at is 30 MILLION (aprox) being spent BEFORE the first brick is laid. Design, layout, admin costs,consultants...the list goes on.

Quiz question of the day: WHY ? There are tens of thousands of approved school building plans on file nation wide which address all manner of student considerations and needs. WHY do we have to re invent the wheel  and spend millions every time just on design ?


Posted by: cranky pants | Jun 11, 2018 07:34

How much encroachment into the actual Minot Forest do they plan on doing ? I'm seeing pink markers far into the tree line on the big hill behind the school. Are they pushing the footprint into the boundaries of the forest ? Seeing the way the markers are up there makes me wonder. There are trails all along the ridge behind the school that have new markers and flags along it now. Can they just tear into the forest like that seeing how it is town property ? It appears that the giant staircase leading up to the forest will be removed ?

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jun 11, 2018 10:33

cranky- the markers could be part of the delineation process that defines the edges of certain resources that cannot be disrupted.  Once the lines are staked, there are regulations about 30-foot no activity zones and/or 100-foot buffer zones that must be abided by.  Quite possibly, construction will be set-back from those markers and there will be no issues.  However, as long as it isn't a "resource area" as described by the State regulations they can build.  Normally a resource area is a pond, vernal pool, marsh, dune, river, coastal bank, etc.  Normal pine woods is not a resource area.  Wareham has thousands of acres of pine woods.  Not a biggie to take some for the benefit of a new school.  There may even be exemptions for schools and such.


Minot Forest it may be a special pine woods because it's named and designated as a forest.  Our Conservation Commission would be all over you or me like flies on stink if one of us wanted to do something to our home if it were next to a forest, a resource area, or a place where a turtle once roamed.  I would expect the same with this project.  I trust there will be no double-standards.  I trust that the regulations will be followed.

Posted by: cranky pants | Jun 11, 2018 11:29

Great informative reply, thank you.

Posted by: WESProjInfo | Jun 11, 2018 11:29

YOURMONKEYSUNCLE - the proposed total project budgets are available for viewing here:

You will note that the total Designer and OPM basic services contracts are capped at a combined $8.9M, a figure which includes oversight during construction and through closeout, so costs through the design phase will be far less than that figure and nowhere near the $30M suggested.


A "model school" design was considered but ultimately was not an option in Wareham for a number of reasons, one being the school size, none of the approved models can accommodate 1020 K-4 Students + PreK.  Another major consideration is the existing site topography, the site is far from flat and the building design needs to work with the existing site.  It is worth noting that the model school program still requires full design and construction administration services and therefore only a portion of the designer's fee is waived.


Posted by: WESProjInfo | Jun 11, 2018 11:36

CRANKY PANTS - Wareham By the Sea is correct, the plan is to stay within existing developed areas and limit of disturbance from the original construction effort in the 1960s.  The markers that you see are for the site survey which encompasses the entire property as necessary to understand existing limitations, topography and for drainage considerations. 

Posted by: cranky pants | Jun 11, 2018 13:09

I'm not sure how much truth is told, but it's been said that there are Indians buried up in those woods on the hill.


Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jun 11, 2018 14:13

Why would people from India be buried up there?  :)   Nowadays while sitting ''criss-cross-applesauce" instead of Indian style, children are taught to call them Native Americans.


Funny because I've chaperoned many field trips to Plymouth Plantation.  The kids were drilled ahead of time not to say Indian.  There used to even be signs there saying not to say Indian.  Yet the Native Americans themselves working there said they didn't mind.  Some actually preferred it.  Political correctness gone awry.  Those signs are gone now.  Seems like it's run it's course.


Posted by: cranky pants | Jun 11, 2018 17:40

Lmao, admittedly I was not thinking through when I was posting but you are correct...

It's the Native Americans that were supposedly buried up there. Funny though, because back in the day it was Dr. Peter Coville himself that called them Indians. He identified them as Pacomtuc and Wampanaug Indians, long before people got offended by everything and life was so literal.

Posted by: OnsetTogether | Jun 12, 2018 09:27

Perhaps there are no stock plans for a pre-K-4th school with 1,020 students because it is a really bad idea?

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Jun 13, 2018 11:17

WESPROJINFO - 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, what is it going to cost individual real estate tax payers per $1000 of their evaluation (assessment?)


And please, no quotes per "average" tax payer cost...that creates a cloud of confusion for everyone except those whose homes are actually assessed at the "average" evaluation. A cloud of tax payer confusion inevitably leads to frustration, suspicion and a question of why tax payers aren't being given a simple formula by which they can calculate the potential impact upon their real estate tax bills.



Posted by: Doctor Deekas | Jun 13, 2018 13:44

Of course the State is going to approve this project! I'm sure all the plans and written criteria are up to snuff. But residents should not take this as a vote of confidence in the idea. Yes, it will be a vote of State funding toward the building, but it won't have anything to do with how badly mismanaged our School system is. And who is to say that would change with a new school, while the staff and leadership remain the same? This building will cost Wareham at least $40 million dollars and that is going to add several hundred dollars, perhaps $500, annually to almost all of the tax bills. Yes, it will depend on the assessed value, but the debt service is the debt service and it has to be paid by everyone. This would be a tax increase that will make the ballooning Fire District budgets a forgotten item!

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