Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the target MSBA reimbursement amount? How much will the project cost?
The District’s Schematic Design submittal targets reimbursement amount of up to $125,571,080. The total project “all-in” cost inclusive of furnishings, technology, contingencies, etc. is $305,567,432.
Does the project budget include what's needed inside the building ex: desks whiteboards? Or will this a surprise after the fact?
The $305,567,432 is an all-in number, it includes contingencies, furnishings, equipment, technology, utility connections, even movers for when the building is complete. Furnishings, fixtures, equipment and technology are all reimbursed by the MSBA with an allowance of $2,400 per student for a total reimbursable FF&E / IT budget of $3,441,600.
When is the budget locked in? What assurances do we have that the building committee will not seek further increase to budget upon completion of design?
The Building Committee intends on going for one and only one funding authorization. At that point the designer's contract will include a design-to-cost clause based upon the authorized budget to prevent what the industry refers to as “scope creep.”
I don’t have children in the school system and I am concerned about an increase to my taxes, what assurances do I have that costs will be kept down?
Keeping costs down is a priority, and it will continue to be right through project closeout. It is understood that many affected by this decision do not have children in the school system. Comparatively speaking, the cost per square foot of the proposed school is far lower than that of neighboring regional vocational school districts going through the MSBA’s process at the same time as Bristol-Plymouth.
When will the project be finished?
The current project schedule anticipates occupancy of a new building in time for the school year beginning September 2025. A second phase consisting of abatement and demolition of the existing building and construction of new fields is anticipated to be completed in the Spring of 2026.
How many students will the project serve?
The MSBA approved design enrollment for the project is 1434 students.
What is the MSBA?
The Massachusetts School Building Authority ("MSBA") is a quasi-independent government authority created to reform the process of funding capital improvement projects in the Commonwealth’s public schools. The MSBA strives to work with local communities to create affordable, sustainable, and energy efficient schools across Massachusetts. The MSBA, which has a dedicated revenue stream of one penny of the state’s 6.25-percent sales tax, is collaborating with municipalities to equitably invest in finding the right-sized, most fiscally responsible and educationally appropriate solutions to create safe, sound, and sustainable learning environments. The MSBA has made more than $15.3 billion in reimbursements to cities, towns, and regional school districts for school construction projects. Instead of waiting years for reimbursement, districts now receive payments from the MSBA as costs are incurred, usually within 15 days of submitting a request through the MSBA’s online Pro-Pay System.
What does the invitation to participate in the MSBA program mean for Bristol-Plymouth?
The invitation to participate in the MSBA program is an extraordinary opportunity for the Bristol-Plymouth community. The ability to secure millions of dollars in funding from the State for such a large capital project reduces the cost burden on the District’s taxpayers. This invitation does not guarantee that Bristol-Plymouth will successfully complete all the steps which lead to state funding assistance for a building project. However, it is a positive sign that the MSBA supports our District’s request for funding.
What is the School Building Committee?
The MSBA requires that proposed projects establish a School Building Committee, defined from Massachusetts statute, 963CMR:2.10, Paragraph (3) “for the purpose of generally monitoring the Application process and to advise the Eligible Applicant during the construction of the approved project.
What is the MSBA reimbursement rate for eligible project costs? What items are ineligible for reimbursement?
The base reimbursement rate is 58.37% and the district anticipates it will receive an additional 3.88% in incentive reimbursement points. Reimbursement applies to ‘eligible’ project costs only. Examples of ineligible costs include abatement of vinyl asbestos tile, moving costs, swing space, soft costs in excess of 20% of construction cost, site costs in excess of 8% of the direct building cost, and building costs in excess of $360/SF. Although assumed ineligible scope will be factored into the projected district share, ineligible costs and space are reviewed and negotiated with the MSBA upon completion of the schematic design phase.
Does the District need to borrow the entirety of the estimated project cost? If so, what happens to the reimbursement payments from the MSBA, where does that money go?
While the District will vote to authorize the full project value, the District does not need to borrow the full amount for the project, just the anticipated district share. Reimbursements of eligible costs are made by the MSBA on a monthly basis. Upon receipt of MSBA Board approval of the Schematic Design, a comprehensive cashflow projection will be developed by the Owner’s Project Manager which will forecast the anticipated district’s out of pocket expenses at any given point in time. This cashflow projection can then be utilized to limit borrowing to only what is absolutely necessary to keep the project moving along, thus keeping borrowing charges to a minimum.
Why is it so expensive to repair the existing building when a new school would require all of the same work and then some?
Common Statement: “The new school will need all the things and costs an upgrade will require plus new walls, roofs, ceilings gyms, fixtures, plumbing, demolition of old school, foundations.” which is 100% correct. However, the existing schools also need those exact same items in order to be brought up to current code. The walls and roofs do not meet current energy code (lack of insulation or vapor barrier). The existing ceilings contain asbestos and would need to be abated & replaced. The plumbing systems do not meet low-flow or handicap accessibility requirements. The gymnasium requires new flooring, structural reinforcement, lighting and mechanical systems. It is true that the new building will require foundations, but the old building would also require extensive foundation work, in addition to steel shear bracing and seismic clips throughout as necessary to meet current structural code. When working within the confines of an existing structure, costs for these items increase exponentially. Imagine trying to install new mechanical system ductwork (to satisfy the current code’s minimum outside air requirements) in an existing small cramped corridor with low ceilings and a plethora of other old systems in your way versus the same task in a new structure which has a clear route and has been designed and framed to accommodate these necessary systems.