Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
THE MARCH 5th SPECIAL ELECTION
When is the Special Election and why is it important?
On Saturday, March 5, 2022, the BP Tech’s seven member communities (Berkley, Bridgewater, Dighton, Middleboro, Raynham, Rehoboth, Taunton) will have the opportunity to vote on whether or not to approve funding the construction of a new school facility.
A “yes” vote would fund the project through completion. A new BP Tech Facility would be built to increase enrollment, improve site safety, and provide a 21st century learning environment to 1,434 students across 19 vocational programs by addressing the current school’s deficiencies which include:
- Energy efficiency & energy code challenges
- Asbestos concerns
- Outdated/failing building systems
- Extensive exterior envelope deterioration
- Undersized cafeteria forces 4 lunch periods
- Accessibility challenges
- No auditorium for student assembly
- Undersized classrooms and shop spaces
- Missing or outdated technology
- Traffic/safety site concerns
A “no” vote would mean the project is unable to move forward with construction and would also decline $125.5M in Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) grant program funding.
Where and when can I vote?
Voting will be Saturday, March 5, 2022 from 9am to 3pm in the following locations for each of the District communities:
In the TOWN OF BERKLEY,
Berkley Community School, 59 South Main Street, Berkley, MA 02779
in the TOWN OF BRIDGEWATER,
Mitchell Middle School, 166 Mount Prospect Street, Bridgewater, MA 02324
in the TOWN OF DIGHTON,
Dighton Elementary School, 1250 Somerset Avenue, Dighton, MA 02715
in the TOWN OF MIDDLEBOROUGH,
Precinct 1 Oak Point Club House, 202 Oak Point Drive
Precinct 2 Middleborough High School, 71 E Grove Street
Precinct 3 South Middleborough Fire Station, 566 Wareham Street
Precinct 4 Middleborough High School, 71 E Grove Street
Precinct 5 Council on Aging, 558 Plymouth Street
Precinct 6 Middleborough High School, 71 E Grove Street
in the TOWN OF RAYNHAM,
Raynham Middle School, 420 Titicut Road, Raynham, MA 02767
in the TOWN OF REHOBOTH,
The Francis Farm Community Center – Museum Building, 27 Francis Farm Road, Rehoboth, MA 02769
and in the CITY OF TAUNTON,
Ward/Precinct 1A LIBERTY CHRISTIAN CENTER 159 WINTHROP ST (former Assembly of God Church)
Ward/Precinct 1B WESTVILLE CONG. PARISH HALL CORNER OF WINTHROP & NO. WALKER ST
Ward/Precinct 2A ST. ANDREW THE APOSTLE CHURCH 19 KILMER AVENUE
Ward/Precinct 2B FORMER TEMPORARY CITY HALL 141 OAK STREET
Ward/Precinct 3A NEW ELIZABETH POLE SCHOOL 215 HARRIS STREET
Ward/Precinct 3B NEW ELIZABETH POLE SCHOOL 215 HARRIS STREET
Ward/Precinct 4A JOSEPH H. MARTIN SCHOOL 131 CASWELL STREET
Ward/Precinct 4B EAST TAUNTON ELEM. SCHOOL 58R STEVENS STREET
Ward/Precinct 5A HOPEWELL SCHOOL 16 MONROE STREET
Ward/Precinct 5B HOLY ROSARY PARISH CENTER 80R BAY STREET
Ward/Precinct 6A CRAIG C. SHERMAN CENTER-DPW 90 INGELL STREET
Ward/Precinct 6B LEDDY SCHOOL 36 SECOND STREET
Ward/Precinct 7A MULCAHEY SCHOOL 28 CLIFFORD STREET
Ward/Precinct 7B BENNET SCHOOL 47 NORTH WALKER STREET
Ward/Precinct 8A FRIEDMAN MIDDLE SCHOOL 500 NORTON AVENUE
Ward/Precinct 8B TAUNTON ELKS 775 JOHN QUINCY ADAMS ROA
What happens if the project is not approved on March 5, 2022?
The building still requires repairs and basic building code upgrades—an effort estimated to cost $137,082,918 for the member communities. These repairs would not be eligible for MSBA reimbursement as they would not address the basic educational programming needs due to the building being vastly undersized. The high costs for repairs are due to the challenges inherent with construction in an existing building.
In the scenario where the project is not approved, why is it so expensive to repair the existing building when a new school would require all the same work and more?
The existing school needs extensive upgrades to be brought up to current code. When working within the confines of an existing structure, costs for these items increase exponentially. For example, there are many challenges that come with installing new mechanical system ductwork in an existing small, cramped corridor with low ceilings and other old systems in the 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. This added complication comes with added cost.
Existing building deficiencies include the following:
- 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 old building requires extensive foundation work
- The gymnasium requires new flooring, structural reinforcement, lighting, and mechanical systems
PROJECT COST & GRANT REIMBURSEMENT INFORMATION
How much will the new school cost and how will it impact my taxes?
Total project cost: $305,567,432 (includes contingencies, furnishings, equipment, technology, etc.)
Maximum MSBA grant: $125,569,759
Potential District share: $179,997,673
For the District’s share, each city/town will pay the same cost per student based on enrollment which is assessed yearly. Using the most recent enrollment data, the cost would be split as follows:
Should I be concerned that my communities’ share will increase if another community opts to exit the regional school District?
Under the regional agreement, a community must obtain prior approval from all other member communities prior to withdrawal from the regional school District.
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 which includes contingencies, furnishings, equipment, technology, utility connections, and 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, which means up to $3,441,600 may be eligible for MSBA reimbursement for just for these items.
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?
Only one funding authorization is intended for this project, which will move forward if the vote passes on March 5, 2022. After that point, the architect's contract will include a "design-to-cost clause" which helps to prevent increases in the project budget.
What is the MSBA and how much grant money have they approved for this project?
The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) is a government authority that helps to fund capital improvement projects in the Commonwealth’s public schools. The MSBA has a dedicated revenue stream of one penny of the state’s 6.25-percent sales tax and works with communities to reimburse school construction costs. The MSBA receives hundreds of applications for funding assistance from cities and towns across the Commonwealth.
The maximum grant reimbursement for this project is $125,569,759.
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 for exemplary maintenance practices and new building sustainability (up to $125,569,759).
MSBA reimbursement applies to what MSBA has categorized as “eligible” project costs only.
Examples of what the MSBA has categorized as “ineligible” costs include:
- abatement of vinyl asbestos tile
- moving costs
- swing space (not needed for the preferred solution)
- soft costs in excess of 20% of construction cost (engineering, testing, moving, legal fees, etc)
- site costs in excess of 8% of the direct building cost
- building costs in excess of $360/SF
Assumed ineligible costs are factored into the projected District share of $179,997,663.
Does the District need to borrow the entirety of the estimated project cost? 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 ($305,567,432), just the anticipated District share ($179,997,673).
Reimbursements of eligible costs are made by the MSBA to the District every month.
Upon receipt of MSBA Board approval of the Schematic Design, a comprehensive cashflow projection was developed by the Owner’s Project Manager to forecast the anticipated District’s out of pocket expenses at any given point in time. This cashflow projection is utilized to limit borrowing to only what is absolutely necessary to keep the project moving along, thus keeping borrowing charges to a minimum.
ADDITIONAL PROJECT INFORMATION
Where will the new school be located?
The new school will be constructed on the fields adjacent to the existing building in order to minimize impact to existing educational programming.
When does construction begin and end?
Construction is estimated to begin mid-2023. The current project schedule anticipates occupancy of a new building in time for the school year beginning September 2026. A second phase consisting of abatement and demolition of the existing building and construction of new fields is anticipated to be completed in the fall of 2026.
How many students will the project serve?
The MSBA approved design enrollment for the project is 1,434 students.
How can the local community stay informed as the project progresses?
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