Thanks to a potential partnership with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), the rebuilding of is on a "fast track" toward becoming a reality.
Last night, school and city administrators met with the School Committee to update the group on the recent developments with the Angier rebuilding project, and the recommendation to invest $750,000 in a feasibility study for the project.
"This is a very exciting thing for Newton," Deputy Superintendent/Chief Administrative Officer Sandy Guryan said.
where the MSBA would team up with the city to rebuild the 90-year-old Waban elementary school.
According to City Project Manager Alex Valcarce, the next step is for Newton to compile extensive information about the Angier School, district and city. The application will be put together with this information and hopefully submitted in time for the MSBA's board meeting in March, he said.
One of those application items is proof that the city is willing to fund the project's feasibility study.
At a Board of Aldermen meeting last week, Chief Financial Officer Maureen Lemieux , which would be used toward a feasibility study for the school.
However, committee member Diana Fisher Gomberg questioned why the feasibility study funding would all have to come from the health care savings when that money could be used toward multiple school projects.
"The schools have lots of needs," she said. "There are a lot of things that we could be doing this year that need to happen."
Guryan and Public Buildings Commissioner Stephanie Gilman assured the committee they would take their questions (including Gomberg's concern) to the MSBA during a conference call Friday and hopefully have responses for next Monday's School Committee meeting.
If the MSBA agrees to partner with the district in the project, there are specific steps along the way the schools will have to take in order to receive grant funding for part of the building costs, Valcarce explained.
At a meeting in December, Guryan said it is possible the MSBA could pay for as much as a third of the project's total cost. With an estimated $25-30 million price tag, that would put the city's share at around $20 million.
As for the city's funding portion, Mayor Setti Warren urged residents to attend upcoming community meetings to share their ideas of how to fund the Angier project.
"People need to understand the pathway forward, the decisions we have to make and the additional funding sources that we need," Warren said.
Other notable takeaways from last night's meeting:
- In addition to the Angier feasibility money, the plans for renovating the have been moved up as well, as the Angier students will have to go there while the school is under construction
- Valcarce explained that the feasibility study will look at both rebuilding and renovation/addition
- In addition to the current Angier Working Group, an Angier Building Committee will be put together and include city officials and community members
- Guryan, Valcarce, Gilman and School Committee member Jonathan Yeo visited an elementary school in Dedham that recently went through the MSBA process
- The new Angier school is estimated to open in fall of 2016