FRAMINGHAM – The Framingham School Building Committee (SBC) reached a major milestone by unanimously approving the project budget for the new Fuller Middle School. The budget is $98.3 million, Monday night.
Voters will still need to approve the project in a debt exclusion override in December 2017.
For the past year, the School Building Committee and Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) have been working on a feasibility study to address the conditions of the Fuller Middle School, which was formerly the South High School.
The study has concluded that the most cost-effective, sustainable and educationally appropriate solution is to construct a new Fuller Middle School which features a learning commons/cafeteria surrounded by collaboration spaces fronting a perimeter of classrooms, an 8,300-square-foot gymnasium, 420-seat auditorium, and full building air conditioning.
The approximate total project cost is $98.3 million with the City’s share after the grant from the Authority estimated to be $58.8 million. The Authority is anticipated to provide a grant of approximately $39.5 million.
With forward planning by the former Town Meeting, Town Manager, and Board of Selectmen in anticipation of reaching this milestone it is part of the Committee’s plan that $8 million from the city’s Capital Building Stabilization Fund will be allocated towards this project, reducing the new project costs to the city.
“The collaborative cost reduction action strategy the School Building Committee went through over the past four months led to more than $12.2 million dollars in savings before we finalized our plans”, said David Miles, Co-Chair of the School Building Committee. “Through our collaboration with the Massachusetts School Building Authority, Framingham Public Schools leadership, project manager, and project architects, we were able to balance affordability while also prioritizing the educational attributes our students, educators, and the community need.”
“The thoughtful, collaborative, detail oriented, and transparent process to build a new Fuller Middle School is now in the final phase,” said Adam Freudberg, Chair of the Framingham School Committee, District 4, and School Building Committee member. “Together, we have created an opportunity to better support student achievement and educator effectiveness by upgrading old infrastructure decades overdue for a change. Proper infrastructure supports student achievement. And when our schools achieve, it makes our school district’s evaluations and reputation rise, impacting our city’s desirability, our property values, and our economic growth.”
On September 12, 2018, the next step for this project is for the Schematic Design Report to be submitted to the MSBA in preparation for their scheduled approval at their October 31, 2018 Board meeting.
The City Council will vote to approve the project’s funding in the late fall, followed by the debt exclusion ballot vote anticipated to be held on December 11, 2018.
Fuller Middle School has served the community well for over 60 years. The school has reached a point that it no longer meets today’s building codes, has structural deficiencies, inefficient and inoperable systems, and does not adequately support our educational curriculum. The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) has visited the school and agrees. The MSBA is the state agency charged with overseeing and supporting school improvement projects with state grants. The MSBA and City of Framingham are nearing completion of the year-long study to develop a cost effective, sustainable, and educationally appropriate solution for the aging Fuller Middle School.