State to review new Wareham elementary school plans on June 6

May 23, 2018

Plans for a three-story $90 million elementary school will soon be in front of state officials for approval.

The plans call for tearing down Minot Forest Elementary School and constructing a new building at the same site. Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Shaver-Hood said the Massachusetts School Building Authority will review the proposal on June 6. The approval is required for state reimbursement. Shaver-Hood noted the project is on track.

“We’re moving along very nicely,” she said at Wednesday's School Committee meeting.

Members of the School Committee-appointed School Building Committee have been drafting plans over the past year.

On March 27, the School Building Committee favored the $90 million building with space for 1,020 students. The project will combine Minot Forest and Decas Elementary into one school. Officials said the new building is needed to replace an aging Minot Forest Elementary. The school is more than 50 years old.

On June 27, the School Building Authority is scheduled to vote on the plans. If that happens, Shaver-Hood said officials will start a public outreach campaign.

“Now it’s time to start informing the public to let them know which direction where headed and to ask for support,” said Shaver-Hood. “This is a very important milestone for the district.”

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 roughly $39 million for the project’s construction cost.

Plans call for completing a design 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.