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Belmont Selectmen OK New High School Proposal

Cost for renovation and an addition to existing school building now pegged at around $75 million.

Belmont Selectmen OK New High School Proposal

It's been a while since Belmont first attempted to get into the state "queue" to be considered for funding a new High School.

"This is the ninth annual Statement of Interest submission," Dr. Thomas Kingston, Belmont's schools superintendent told the Belmont Board of Selectmen early Monday morning, April 8, which signed the request that was sent this week to the Massachusetts School Building Authority.

In the month since the Statement was approved by the Belmont School Committee, the anticipated price tag of renovating the 257,000 sq.-ft. building and constructing a new 34,000 sq.-ft. science wing is now expected to be in the lower-end of a range between $75 million to $100 million, said Kingston.

The request is due to "deficiencies" facing the more than 40-year-old building including the possibility of "severe overcrowding" as a result from increased future enrollments – the building current house 1,120 students with projections of up to 200 new pupils by 2022 – modernizing the building's mechanical systems, renovate or replace outdated buildings to allow for a full-array of education programs and to maintain the school's regional education accreditation. 

The difference in this year's application from previous submissions is updated information and data since the initial Master Plan on renovating the school was completed in 2004.

Kingston told the board that the earliest the town would hear back that the submission was approved is by late summer. Breaking ground would then not begin for another two to four years and only after a feasibility study is completed.

The renovation and new construction would take place in four phases with students staying in the existing building unlike Wellington Elementary School pupils who spent nearly two years in modular units while the former school was demolished and the new building constructed.

Kingston said the MSBA would be expected to reimburse the town a third of the cost, resulting in Belmont taxpayers picking up the rest of the price tag through a debt exclusion. 

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