Wareham school officials prepare for state review of elementary school plans

By Matthew Bernat | Jun 20, 2018
Photo by: Lydia Goerner State officials on June 27 will review plans for a proposed $90 million school where Minot Forest is currently located.

School officials said they are confident that plans for a new $90 million elementary school will receive approval from the state, allowing the project to eventually go before Wareham voters for a final decision this fall.

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.

Wareham Public Schools Business Manager updated school committee members on Wednesday, saying the plans are slated for review by the Massachusetts School Building Authority on June 27. The authority reviews new school plans and awards funds for construction.

“Once the board makes the decision, we’ll be full steam ahead for a vote at Town Meeting and then the ballot question,” said MacMillan.

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 $39 million for the project’s construction cost.

Comments (8)
Posted by: thkng60@yahoo.com | Jun 23, 2018 06:19

I hope they are also making plans to renovate the school. This is by no means a slam dunk. At least 50 million dollars will be coming from the taxpayers, 50 million, that's a lot of money to ask for. I still haven't heard a price to renovate the school. Okay , you need new boilers, windows, floors etc.  , but I don't see that costing us 50 million dollars. If we renovate , we will still have two schools to take on the new student population from the new apartment complex that everyone is coming.  IT'S A WIN WIN TO KEEP BOTH SCHOOLS OPEN.

 



Posted by: WESProjInfo | Jun 25, 2018 11:28

THNKG60 - Absolutely, one of the three reconciled renovation cost estimates for both the Minot and Decas buildings is available to view here:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/cl67pr3etgy279m/3.3.3%203J%20Architect%20Estimates.pdf?dl=0.  In addition to the boilers, windows, floors you've correctly mentioned; schools constructed during that era also do not meet current energy, mechanical, accessibility, fire protection, and structural code - all of which can add significant costs when trying to work within the constraints of an existing structure.

 

Keep in mind that the independent estimate above is for construction cost only, for the full project cost (design, contingencies, furniture, technology, utilities, etc), the chart at the link below includes a more complete picture of Wareham's bottom line cost.  https://www.dropbox.com/s/36kz6x3u19ab7a3/3.3.3%203Ic%20District%20Share%20Forecast%20by%20Option.pdf?dl=0.

 

You will note that a new consolidated PREK-4 school is expected to not only cost Wareham less initially ($39.8M), but the new combined school will also provide operational cost savings for many years to come (think energy savings, consolidation of admin/custodial/kitchen services in one building, etc).  The cost of repairing Minot now and Decas five years from now is estimated to be in excess of $74M, with no guarantee of reimbursement from the state, no educational programming benefit, and nothing to address the shortfall of space within those existing buildings.



Posted by: Andrea Smith | Jun 25, 2018 12:06

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?)



Posted by: Spherebreaker | Jun 25, 2018 14:35

So now we know where the commuter train lot is going



Posted by: Andrea Smith | Jun 25, 2018 14:49

Sphere - I think the proposed commuter train parking lot turned into Tobey Road's solar farm.

 



Posted by: Andrea Smith | Jun 25, 2018 15:10

Wesprojinfo - Regarding "The cost of repairing Minot now and Decas five years from now is estimated to be in excess of $74M"

Can you provide a link to a breakdown of the $74 million estimate?

Also can you please answer the following:

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?



Posted by: WESProjInfo | Jul 02, 2018 14:49

ANDREA - sorry I'm not sure if you receive notifications and will see this response, but just incase the link to a breakdown of the repair estimates totaling $74M is here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/cl67pr3etgy279m/3.3.3%203J%20Architect%20Estimates.pdf?dl=0



Posted by: Andrea Smith | Jul 02, 2018 20:47

Wesprojinfo - Thanks for the information. You've earned an A+ for effort.



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