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