The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 22, 2010

CCHS feasibility study/schematic design to cost $1.3 million

Deputy Superintendent John Flaherty told the Concord-Carlisle Regional High School (CCHS) Facility Master Plan Committee [FMP] that there will be a $1.3 million Warrant Article on Concord and Carlisle’s Town Meetings for a feasibility study and schematic design for renovating the high school.

The request would have been $210,000 higher if the regional school district were not already preparing a master plan. When reached after the meeting, Flaherty said, “The money we spent for the master plan is directly useful for the feasibility study. It puts us in a more informed position with the Massachusetts School Building Authority [MSBA]. All of the FMP Study work is fully creditable towards the outcome of the Feasibility Study/Schematic Design cost.”

The committee is considering different renovation options and the cost estimates are rough estimates; however, Flaherty mentioned a ballpark estimate of about $90 million in total project costs.

The MSBA reimbursement amount is dependent on what costs MSBA considers to eligible. MSBA has not yet specified what percent reimbursement might be offered. However, it likely would be in the neighborhood of 40%, which is the percent reimbursement offered for the Carlisle School building project. For the high school renovation project, Carlisle would be responsible for roughly 30% of the unreimbursed costs.

Flaherty had been talking with Diane Sullivan of MSBA. Flaherty told the committee, “Sullivan was very enthusiastic that we have a master plan going on.” Sullivan spoke highly of the Office of Michael Rosenfeld (OMR), the firm conducting the master plan and said OMR is currently working on other schools in the state and has a good sense of how to complete schematic designs. Sullivan spoke about eight other high schools working with MSBA. She noted that there is a correlation between the size of the school population and the size of the funding.

Committee member Jerry Wedge said he was thrilled that MSBA was being so friendly. Although CCHS is still on the MSBA’s repair list, they indicated they were open to renovation and were anxious to see the master plan results in March.

The regional school district will have to validate the five- to ten-year student enrollment projection of 1,250 with MSBA. Flaherty said he would reach out to John Ballantine of Fiske Street who had worked on the Carlisle enrollment validation.

Committee members worried that if the towns did not vote in favor of the feasibility study, the opportunity for state reimbursement could be lost or significantly delayed. When reached after the meeting, Salemy said the timing is not great with Carlisle’s other fiscal responsibilities, but favors moving forward with a CCHS building project. “Many capital projects have been delayed at the high school and the facility has been starved for capital because of the prospect of a large renovation project. Time is not on our side, and unless we act quickly, these projects can no longer be put off.” Salemy said there is a high cost of doing nothing. “The building is hugely cost inefficient. Space constraints are causing Special Education out-of-district placements to rise. These issues would be solved with a renovated/expanded facility.” ∆

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