BOSTON – The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) Board of Directors voted on Halloween to approve the Fuller Middle School Project and an estimated Total Facilities Grant of $39.5 million to help fund the project.
This approval is a final step in the multi-year approval process the City and Framingham Public Schools needed before a debt exclusion election scheduled for Tuesday, December 11.
If approved, the existing Fuller Middle School will be replaced with a new facility equipped to support Framingham’s 21st century educational curriculum and facility needs.
Tuesday night, the Framingham City Council, in a 10-0 vote passed the funding request for the total appropriation, as required by the state Authority. During discussion, multiple City Councilors indicated their support for this effort.
“I am extremely pleased that the MSBA saw the wisdom to help fund the critically important Fuller School project,” said Dennis Giombetti, Chair, Framingham City Council. “The City Council’s unanimous support of the project demonstrates the widespread community support for Fuller Middle School. The Council looks forward to continuing to work on making the new Fuller Middle School a reality for our students.”
The project cost is estimated to be $98.3 million, which will be offset by the grant from the state Authority. The cost to the City will be approximately $58.8 million. This equates to an average annual increase of $101 to the average residential taxpayer over the life of the 20-year bond.
“The opportunity to partner with the Massachusetts School Building Authority in the construction of a truly 21st century school building, designed to meet the needs of a school district that is advancing its work in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics as integrated learning through real-word projects and problem-solving cannot be overemphasized,” said Superintendent, Dr. Robert Tremblay. “Without funding support from the MSBA, the City of Framingham would not be able to make such a strategic investment in teaching and learning which will benefit children and families in our community for generations to come. We encourage our community to actively engage in this important discussion and to learn, firsthand, how this investment will pay dividends for Framingham!”
“Fuller Middle School is a community asset that has potential to not only serve the needs of our teachers and students who will be utilizing the building predominantly, but will also provide an opportunity to benefit Framingham in its entirety. In Framingham, we have always taken pride in the excellence of our schools, and we owe it to ourselves to invest in our growth in the most pragmatic way possible,” said Dr. Yvonne M. Spicer, Mayor of the City of Framingham. “I encourage all residents to attend the Community Forums and join the discussion revolving around the Fuller Middle School Building Project for the purpose of staying informed, expressing any opinions or concerns, and understanding the significance that their vote will emanate on the December ballot.”
“This is a generational opportunity to ensure a fiscally responsible, first-class learning environment for the students and teachers of today and tomorrow,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “Simply put, this is the right project for Framingham at the right time. I’m proud of the collaborative leadership the City of Framingham has demonstrated, and grateful for the support and partnership of the MSBA for this critical project.”
The Fuller Middle School project is a new three-story construction with a learning commons/cafeteria at the core surrounded by collaboration balconies fronting a perimeter of classrooms, an 8,300-square-foot gymnasium, 420-seat auditorium, and full-building air conditioning. Additionally, there will be space for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) instructional areas.
“The recent votes by the Framingham City Council and the MSBA in support of the Fuller School Building Project validates the work of numerous individuals and groups from the City, The School Department, and the Community over the last seven years,” said David Miles, Co-Chair of the School Building Committee. “This exciting project will now move forward with renewed energy. The building represents an educational vision which enables best practices for a STEAM education. While this is the current focus, the building will be constructed with the flexibility to adapt to new teaching and learning methods as they evolve over the next decades. This is a building for the now and for the future and is a big step forward for the students and the City as a whole.”
“Our children deserve to receive a 21st century education in buildings that encourage exploration and advancements in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and the arts,” said Jack Patrick Lewis, State Representative, 7th Middlesex District. “This opportunity to partner with the Massachusetts School Building Authority helps ensure that future Fuller Middle School students receive the education they deserve. I hope all Framingham residents explore how vital this partnership is not only to our children’s future but also the overall health of our city.”
“Educating our children is the best investment we can ever make,” stated Carmine L. Gentile, State Representative, 13th Middlesex District. “The City Council’s unanimous support for funding the new Fuller Middle School demonstrates their leadership and commitment to our children’s success. I am grateful for the generous support of the Mass School Building Authority in helping us to create a much needed new school which will provide a great environment for learning.”
The School Building Committee has led this 18-month long feasibility study to determine the best solution to the aging Fuller Middle School, which was formerly the Framingham South High School. Over the course of the study, the School Building Committee held 28 Committee meetings and hosted multiple community forums, all open to the public.
The next series of community forums will be held tomorrow evening at Fuller from 6-8 p.m. (Community Forum #9 on Thursday, November 1), as well as Community Forum #10 on Wednesday, November 28th, 2018 from 6-8 p.m. at the Fuller Middle School.
Presentations will also be given on November 10 at 10 a.m. in the Main Public Library, November 17 at 2 p.m. in the McAuliffe Branch Library, and on November 26 at 1 p.m. at the Callahan Senior Center.
Framingham’s School Building Committee for the Fuller Middle School Building Project was formed in accordance with Massachusetts School Building Authority requirements to oversee the study and project on behalf of the community. Membership of the group comes from City Government leadership, a City Council Member, Framingham Public School leadership, School Committee Members, teachers, engineers, and representatives from the community. The SBC has met approximately every two weeks since the fall of 2017.
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 multi year study to develop a cost effective, sustainable, and educationally appropriate solution for the aging Fuller Middle School. That study reviewed eight design alternatives which were discussed and evaluated over the course of the Feasibility Study. The committee focused on the following criteria when developing the options: educational benefits, cost, minimal disruption during construction, sustainability, community access, and transportation. The eight design alternatives explored were comprised of one repair only option, one renovation option, three renovation and addition options and three all new construction options. The chosen design was determined by the School Building Committee to be the most cost effective option for the community