HS Project Press in Daily Times Chronicle

by a.suffredini@me.com on September 16, 2013

Superintendent confident of MSBA approval for high school project

Ellen Knight | Posted: Monday, September 16, 2013 12:00 pm

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WINCHESTER – “I fully expect that MSBA staff will recommend that the Board of Directors approve the [high school] project,” Superintendent William McAlduff told the School Committee following a discussion last Monday with a Massachusetts School Building Authority subcommittee preliminary to the MSBA Board of Directors’ vote.

On Oct. 2, the MSBA Board is scheduled to make its decision. If it approves the project, the MSBA will then enter into a Project Scope and Budget Agreement and a Project Funding Agreement with the town.

McAlduff said they are expecting a definitive final project cost next week, somewhere in the range of $132M to $133M. Only after the Oct. 2 meeting will the town know definitively its share of that cost.

The project was detailed to the MSBA in a Preferred Schematic Report submitted on Aug. 8. As described by the MSBA, the Preferred Schematic Report includes “a robust schematic design of sufficient detail to establish the scope, budget and schedule.” It is also used to determine the amount of the cost to be shared between the MSBA and the town.

There was some concern from School Committee members that the project be described correctly. The draft Town Meeting article refers to it as “remodeling of and construction of an addition to Winchester High school.” McAlduff said the text of the Town Meeting article likely follows a form and uses language specified by the MSBA.

In discussion, McAlduff described the project as “a comprehensive renovation.” The interior is to be gutted and all the internal space is to be rebuilt. The exterior is also to be renovated, notably improving the building’s energy efficiency. Three small additions are planned to provide administration space at the school entrance and appropriate music rooms and to enclose the current courtyard to create a dining commons and “civic heart” to the building.

For the details, residents may consult the Preferred Schematic Report at the project Web site – www.winchesterhsproject.com.

As discussed at the Board of Selectmen’s meeting, a Special Town Meeting is planned for the first night of fall Town Meeting, Nov. 4. The debt-exclusion override is expected to be held on Dec. 10, the day of the Special State Election for the 5th Congressional District.

From now to then, a major activity is informing the public. Residents may find information about the project at the Web site. At that site, they may also sign up for guided tours to learn about the deficiencies of the current high school.

Tours typically begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings and take approximately one hour. Residents are asked to sign up in advance.

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