North Attleborough Schools will be submitting two Statements of Interest [SOI] to the Massachusetts School Building Authority [MSBA] for renovations to the high school and a new complex to replace the Amvet, Roosevelt, and Community Schools. The window for SOIs runs from Jan. 8 into April.
Last year, North Attleborough submitted an SOI for the high school for either renovations or expansion. On Dec. 11, the town was informed that the SOI hadn’t been chosen, according to Superintendent Scott Holcomb. This is the third time the district has made this submission. He added that this was one 61 SOIs, of which 11 moved on to the next phase, a feasibility study.
“It’s not unheard of that school districts need to submit many, many times,” said Holcomb.
Among those chosen to move forward was the Tri-County High School in Franklin. As North Attleborough is a member community of this school, it would need to provide one-third of the costs for the project.
Holcomb said an SOI indicates the town’s desire to partner with the state for a school renovation or replacement, as well as its ability to allocate the needed funds. SOIs are reviewed by the MSBA, and those districts with the greatest need are chosen. Sometimes, a district will submit SOIs for multiple projects, as is the case with North Attleborough. If a town is ultimately chosen to receive MSBA support, approximately half of the costs can be reimbursed. Recently, the town received $3 million from the MSBA for a new science lab, which cost $6 million.
The new SOI for North Attleborough High School also looks at renovations and expansion, something that was planned for in the original design. The statement for the elementary schools calls for the demolition of Amvet Boulevard. The property would then be re-purposed as an athletic field or parking lot. The Roosevelt School would remain standing, though some renovations would be needed. These two schools share property, said Holcomb, and there is extra space on which the new one can be built. Holcomb said the project could take five to seven years to complete.
“We’re a long way form what I’m talking about,” he said.
The Community School would not be demolished, and the property likely turned over to the town. Recently, Town Council approved a $1.3 million bond to replace the school’s roof, to be paid for over a 15-year period. Funds are included in the Operating Budget to cover these payments.
“It’s hard to say if one is more of a priority than the others,” said Holcomb of the two statements. “These are the bookends of education. Many people who move to town look at the elementary and high schools.”
Holcomb said those students in the three elementary schools wouldn’t necessarily go to the new building, as some redistricting would need to be done.