Updated at 11:55 a.m. – The state voted in favor of the Fuller Middle School project.
FRAMINGHAM – A delegation of Framingham town and school leaders will meet with the Massachusetts School Building Authority today, Feb. 15, looking for a favorable vote on the next step needed to building a new middle school in Framingham.
The Authority is scheduled to vote to approve Framingham’s acceptance into the school construction reimbursement program for a new middle school in Framingham.
Earlier this month, the Framingham School Committee approved a “Feasibility Study Agreement.” And today, the Authority is scheduled to vote on that agreement.
“This is a very important vote,” said Interim Superintendent Ed Gotgart.
If the Authority votes yes, the Town of Framingham will conduct a feasibility study to construct a new middle school in Framingham on the site of the current Fuller Middle School. The proposed new school would house 630 students.
If the state says yes today, voters could be asked to approve the cost to construct a new middle school as early as the spring of 2018. (This timeline could change if voters approve a city form of government on April 4.)
At one point, the estimated cost for a new Fuller-Farley campus was $48 million. Framingham is eligible, if approved by the state, for up to 59 percent reimbursement of cost of the project. It is unknown if the cost is still at that price tag.
The state process for funding a new school is a long and complicated one.
There are more than 8 steps in the eligibility phase, including creating a School Building Committee, which would be responsible to manage the process and oversee the construction of a new middle/elementary school for Framingham, partially funded by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). That Committee was named last summer.
In January 2016, the Massachusetts School Building Authority officially voted to begin the process to fund a feasibility study to renovate or replace Fuller Middle School.
In May 2016, the Authority, after rejecting Framingham’s application twice, gave the first major green light for the Fuller Middle project.
Fuller Middle School was originally constructed in 1958 as Framingham South High School. The building became Fuller Middle School in the mid 1990s.
Since then there have been several improvements:
- 1995 Roof Replacement
- 2005 Converted heating system from oil to natural gas
- 2005 Replaced boilers
- 2007 Auditorium Improvements
- 2009 Portion of north masonry wall replaced
- 2010 ADA accessible ramp and railings at the main front entrance
- 2013 Warranty roof repair performed
- 2014 ADA ramp installed at rear of building
Even with those improvement, the school has several issues, and the district is facing an enrollment crunch.
Framingham Public Schools has seen incoming kindergarten classes of 700-plus students for the last 5 years.
With the student population growing, the public school district opened the former King Administration Building as an elementary school . The school now has kindergarten grade one and grade 2 classes. The goal is for the school to eventually be a K-5 elementary school, the ninth in the district.
At one point the district was considering purchasing land from the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph on Bethany Road for a new school, but a deal could not be reached. Now, the district is focused on construction a new school on the site of the current Fuller Middle School.