Wareham School Building Committee presents plans to Selectmen

Jun 27, 2018

Members of the School Building Committee presented their site plans for a new, $90 million combined Minot Forest and Decas Elementary schools to Selectmen on Tuesday night.

Wareham Public Schools Business Manager Micheal MacMillan said the committee will know by noon Wednesday, June 27 if their plans have been approved by the state. This will allow the project to move forward and eventually go before Wareham voters for a final decision this fall.

"We're encouraged by what we've seen so far," MacMillan said.

The decision to combine the two schools follows what Selectman Peter Teitelbaum called a "myriad of structural issues".

"What people thought would be a 100-year school ended up being a 50-year school," Teitelbaum said.

Minot requires upgrades for security, electrical wiring and fire safety. Additional classroom space, new windows, boilers, floors and ceilings are needed as well.

"One of the old showers was converted into a classroom," Selectman Patrick Tropeano said.

Tropeano also pointed out that Decas wasn't in much better shape.

According to MacMillan, 75 percent of the project's cost will be reimbursed by the state of approved, which is 4 percent higher than anticipated.

The new school would be build were Minot currently is, with space for 1,020 students. MacMillan said the proposed building would be three stories with two wings.

Plans call for completing an official 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.

"It's not as easy as everyone thinks," Tropeano said. "We've been agonizing over this to make the best decisions possible."