Wareham school officials prepare for state review of elementary school plans

Jun 21, 2018

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.