School Option Choice Meeting Jan. 17

Thursday, January 17, 2013
By Transcript Staff

After months of briefing the community on the three school building options, the Winthrop School Building Assistance Committee will be having a joint meeting with the Winthrop School Committee to determine the preferred option tonight (January 17) at the Cummings School Cafetorium at 6:30 p.m.

Prior to the vote, the committees will discuss results of the school building survey and follow up information from the January 3rd School Building Assistance Committee Meeting that should bring members of both committees up-to-date before voting.

Last month, Winthrop Public School (WPS) Superintendent John Macero presented the three options to town residents during a community-wide meeting and during a meeting at the Winthrop Senior Center.

The first option is an expansion renovation on the existing Winthrop High School. The plan would consist of renovating the current high school and adding a second facility that would serve as the town’s middle school. The cost of that project would be $68.9 million with the town’s share of the cost set at $36 million.

The second option, which is the option gaining support from a majority of Winthrop residents, is to tear down the existing high school and build a brand new facility that would house both a high school and middle school that would operate independently of one another. The cost of that project would be $83 million with the town’s share of the cost set at $43 million.

The third and least popular option is to renovate only the current high school building. The cost of that project would be $53 million with the town’s share of the cost set at $28 million.

According to School Building Assistance Committee member Mary Lou Osborne, since June, the Committee has been working on the Feasibility Phase of the school building process as proscribed by the Massachusetts School Building Authority as Winthrop’s partner in this non-entitlement competitive grant program.  Winthrop has hired Skanska as a Project Manager and HMFH as a Design Firm.

“As consultants that are conversant with the MSBA school building process, they have been guiding Winthrop through this exciting opportunity to realize a renovated high school or renovated or new combination middle school/high school for the community of Winthro,” explained Osborne. “As the project is supported by the Winthrop voters, MSBA has made a commitment to a base rate of 54.16% reimbursement of eligible costs, with the possibility of adding more percentage points of reimbursement rate for reimbursable costs should the project so qualify.”

School Building Assistance Committee has been reaching out to the community via input meetings with various groups and town-wide meetings over the course of the last several months.

“Many groups, including town employees and elected and appointed officials, realizing the great opportunity to enhance the capital assets of the town through a school building program that will effectively be 50% funded by the state are working together in support to make this chance to make improvements to our high school and middle school buildings a reality,” said Osborne. “If townspeople wish to continue to keep up with what’s new in the process or have heard something about the process but wish to catch up, and or wish to express a concern or ask a question, they are always welcome to attend the twice monthly meetings which are posted at Winthrop Town Hall and on the town calendar, usually the first and third Thursdays of the month.”

The WPS has also launch a survey on their website’s homepage at www.winthrop.k12.ma.us where residents can log on and vote for the proposal they like the best.

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