By Max Bowenfirstname.lastname@example.org
School Superintendent John Antonucci said the 270-day Eligibility Phase of the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s (MSBA) repair program will be a busy time.
Earlier this month, the town was informed that it’s Statement of Interest for North Attleborough High School had been invited to the Eligibility Phase. Speaking at a School Committee meeting on Monday, March 7, Antonucci said that there are a number of things to be done to complete this part of the process. This includes forming a School Building Committee, with members to include those from the School Committee, building and grounds department, Principal Peter Haviland, a fire official, and a member of the Finance Subcommittee, among others.
“There will be people who understand our education programs,” said Antonucci.
The MSBA will also work with the district to determine its financial and community readiness to enter the Capital Pipeline. The superintendent said an enrollment projection will be the most important part of the process to complete. In recent years, school districts have seen a steady decline in the student population as parents choose education options such as vocational or charter schools.
“This will determine what the MSBA will allow us to build,” he said. “We need to make sure the building fits to the rest of the population.”
Upon successful completion of the Eligibility Phase, the district then becomes eligible for an invitation into the Feasibility Study, subject to a vote by the Board of Directors.
The MSBA reimburses communities for a portion of the construction costs—this can be as much as 52 percent, with the rest to be paid for by the town and decided on by a Town Election vote. An estimate won’t be available until a design is completed and the superintendent said he didn’t want to guess what it could be. Antonucci said there would be a lot of research and community outreach done throughout the process.
Even if the town is chosen to continue through the rest of the process, Antonucci said it could be up to four years before shovels go into the ground.
“This is going to be North Attleborough’s project,” said Antonucci. “We’re going to be asking a lot of our residents and taxpayers.”