On Wednesday, November 20 at the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) Director’s Meeting, Hopkinton was invited to the MSBA’s eligibility period for Center Elementary School. In May Hopkinton voted at Town Meeting to appropriate $600,000 to fund a new Feasibility Study for Center School, and had been waiting to hear from the MSBA since that time.
Read more about the meeting:
HPS Press Release 11/20/13 – MSBA Invitation
Hopkinton Receives Invite from MSBA – HCAM News, Michelle Murdock
State agency advances Hopkinton’s Center School project – Laura Krantz, Metrowest Daily News
Read more about the eligibility period:
What is the Eligibility Period? from Hopkinton’s Elementary School Building Committee
Module 1 – Eligibility Period – from MSBA’s Website
At its August 1 public meeting, Hopkinton’s Elementary School Building Committee (ESBC) conducted site walks of both Elmwood School and Center School including the abutting Hehn family property at 25 Ash Street. New Superintendent Cathy MacLeod attended the site walk as well as new Center School Principal Lauren Dubeau. A town meeting vote would be required for the town to purchase the Hehn property on Ash Street. The Board of Selectmen were scheduled “to consider the purchase, exchange, lease or value of real property on Ash Street” in their private executive session on August 13 and are scheduled to discuss it again in their August 27 executive session. In April Hopkinton submitted a new Statement of Interest for Center School to the Massachusetts School Building Administration (MSBA). The town is awaiting a response from the MSBA to see if we are invited into the Eligibility Period. In May Hopkinton voted at Town Meeting to appropriate $600,000 to fund a new Feasibility Study for Center School.
Video highlights of the ESBC tour are available on the HCAM website: http://www.hcam.tv/videos/elementary-school-building-committee-site-walk
Photos and an article about the ESBC tour are available on the Hopkinton Crier website: http://www.wickedlocal.com/hopkinton/news/x853698166/Hopkinton-officials-tour-land-for-sale-near-Center-School
REMINDER: If you are interested in volunteering your time for our community on the Elementary School Building Committee, the deadline to apply is Tuesday, December 18. This is a chance to get out of the house about two evenings per month and have a meaningful impact on our schools and community. Questions? Jamie Hellen, Operations Assistant to the Town Manager’s Office 508.497.9700 email@example.com.
Click to Apply Online or
Click for a Printable PDF
Continue reading Deadline to Volunteer for the School Building Committee is Tuesday, December 18
Although no decision has been made yet, the town may decide to submit a new Statement of Interest (SOI) to the MSBA. The MSBA is accepting FY12 SOI’s from now through January 11, 2012. Some brief info about MSBA SOI’s:
- An SOI should be building specific, that is, only one school building can be the subject of an SOI. For example we cannot submit a single SOI for BOTH Center School and Elmwood School. “Districts should submit one SOI per school for each school they believe requires a project with the MBSA. Where applicable, the district can express interest in multiple accelerated repair projects at one school (generally projects for the repair and/or replacement of windows, roofs, boilers, and/or a Science Lab Initiative project). All districts that submit multiple SOIs will be required to select one SOI as its ‘district priority SOI’ for consideration and due diligence efforts by the MSBA.”
- An SOI cannot propose a specific solution to the problem. The solution will be arrived at after collaborating with the MSBA on the most appropriate educational and cost effective solution. For example we cannot tell the MSBA that the ONLY solution we want is to renovate/rebuild at the Center School site (or any other specific site). The SOI should just state the problem(s), not the solution.
- The Superintendent must be authorized by both the School Committee and Board of Selectmen before filing an SOI.
- If Hopkinton submits an SOI and the MSBA approves it, the taxpayers would be asked to fund a new feasibility study at a future town meeting. It is unknown yet if this would be at the May 2012 Annual Town Meeting or at another date.
- More information from the MSBA about the current SOI process http://www.massschoolbuildings.org/building/prerequisites/SOI_overview and http://www.massschoolbuildings.org/building/prerequisites/SOI_FAQs
- Read the SOI submitted for Center School in 2007 (one of several SOI’s submitted by Hopkinton in July 2007) at https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxlZHVjYXRlaG9wa2ludG9ufGd4OjJmMGFkM2I5MGI3MmUzODM. This SOI was approved unanimously by the Selectmen (Muriel Kramer, Mary Pratt, Michael Shepard, Brian Herr and Matt Zettek) with a vote of 5 to 0. This SOI was also approved unanimously by the School Committee. The School Committee identified the Center School as its priority SOI per a directive from the MSBA in August 2007.
- Read about what five final options (from the original 13 options) were evaluated in detail during the Center School Feasibility Study, their estimated costs and why they were ruled out as not being preferred options. http://hopkinton.k12.ma.us/newweb2/HESBC/5FSOptionsMatrix.pdf
On Friday, September 16, the Hopkinton School District received a response to Dr. Landman’s August 16 letter asking whether a Pre-K-3 school on the Fruit Street property would still be considered the “same” project. MSBA Director of Capital Planning, Mary Pichetti states in the letter “Before the MSBA can provide any further review, the District must present an updated, approved educational plan, one that has been the subject of community outreach and dialogue. The MSBA would need to understand: how the proposed revised educational plan meets the educational objectives of the District, as approved by the School Committee; what evidence there is that this revision is a project that the community would support; and whether this Project, as revised, would still be the most cost effective choice to support the District’s revised educational goals.” You can read the full letter on the district website at http://www.hopkinton.k12.ma.us/newweb2/schoolcommittee/building_projects/Buildingprojects/MSBA_Letter_9-16-11.pdf.
In a letter dated June 16, the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) finally responded to Hopkinton regarding whether or not Hopkinton could be kept in the MSBA capital pipeline after the failed vote for a new school in March. You can read the full text of the letter here: http://www.educatehopkinton.com/pdf/MSBA-CenterElementaryProject-6-16-11.pdf. To summarize the town is given two options depending on the results of its community outreach.
Option A: A Different Project than the one proposed and reviewed by the MSBA.
- Submit a new Statement of Interest (like we did originally in 2007).
- Await a second invitation from the MSBA to begin a feasibility study.
- Start the process anew with selection of project manager and designer as well as a new feasibility study.
- The second feasibility study and schematic design would NOT be partially reimbursed by the MSBA as the first feasibility was (approx. 40%), the second time around this portion of the project would be funded FULLY by Hopkinton.
Option B: The Same Project as previously proposed and reviewed by the MSBA.
- Demonstrate local support and obtain voter approval by March 28, 2012.
The School Committee just formed a new sub-group, tentatively called “Elementary School Building Problem Identification Committee.” The School Committee members appointed to this sub-group are Nancy Burdick, Troy Mick and Scott Aghababian. Be on the lookout for communications from this sub-group to Hopkinton residents in the coming months as they digest the exit poll data, the MSBA response, the School Committee Communications survey and prepare for a new school year and budget season. We hope there will be many opportunities for the community to give input as they begin working on developing a solution for Center School that the majority of voters will support. As always feel free to contact them (or any other School Committee member) with any questions or comments you may have about the MSBA letter (or any other School Committee matter):
Nancy Burdick firstname.lastname@example.org
Troy Mick email@example.com
Scott Aghababian firstname.lastname@example.org
REMINDER: Don’t forget to fill out the School Committee Communications Survey by Friday, July 22! It only takes about 5-10 minutes to complete.
Exit Poll Link: The data from the March 28 exit poll conducted by the “Ballot Question Committee for Elementary School Options” is available in pdf format on HopkintonPatch: http://hopkinton.patch.com/articles/detailed-results-of-exit-poll-on-school-vote-released
In a joint meeting on Tuesday, March 29, the Hopkinton Board of Selectmen, School Committee and Elementary School Building Committee worked on a draft of a letter to the Massachusetts Building Authority (MSBA) explaining the results of the vote on the new school. The letter was later finalized by Selectman Chair RJ Dourney and Superintendent Jack Phelan and has been posted to school’s website. The town is awaiting the MSBA’s response to see if Hopkinton can remain in the MSBA’s capital pipeline or if we will need to start again at the beginning with the Statement of Interest process. Read the full letter from Hopkinton’s leaders to the MSBA: http://www.hopkinton.k12.ma.us/newweb2/HESBC/HopkintonMSBA.pdf The town of Granby, Massachusetts is the only other town which failed to support a MSBA approved project. Granby has been removed from the MSBA capital pipeline although their vote failed by a much closer margin than Hopkinton’s vote.
At Tuesday’s meeting the Hopkinton Elementary School Building Committee also discussed how things could move forward using the work of the Center School Feasibility Study already completed, after determining what option would be supported by voters. A minor modification, for example, would be to change the grade configuration of the proposed school at Fruit Street. A major change, which would require a new MSBA vote, would be to pursue building on the Center School site. The Center School site was studied in detail during the feasibility study process, but new schematics would be needed at an approximate cost of $120,000-$150,000 funded solely by the town. The project architect David Finney explained in more detail about the constraints of the Center School site. Although the full site is 11.5 acres, there is a narrow lot owned by NSTAR that cuts across the Center School land. NSTAR has granted an easement on this strip of land to Tennessee gas and there is a natural gas pipeline running under it. Mr. Finney said he has verified that the gas pipeline is indeed there. He also stated that due to the topography, it would very difficult (expensive) to build on the land on the other side of the pipeline. There are approximately 4.5 acres at the front part of the Center School lot (from Ash Street to the NSTAR land) and an additional 7 acres behind the NSTAR strip of land. He stated that although a school could be built on 4 acres, this would be “an urban solution for a suburban town.” The proposed school on Fruit Street was designed on approximately 12 acres.
MSBA Failed Vote Policy
MSBA Letter in Response to Inquiry by Hopkinton Residents 3-11-11
Center School Principal Jennifer Parson expressed that there are real repair needs that will need to be taken care of at Center School for the time being. It was expressed by the boards they might be able to put some repair articles on the warrant for a Fall 2011 Special Town Meeting. In the meantime some partial ADA compliance work for Center School is already on the warrant for the May 2011 Town Meeting.
Hopkinton is waiting to hear from back from the MSBA on whether or not the Center School project will be kept in the MSBA capital pipeline or if Hopkinton will need to start again with the Statement of Interest (SOI) process (as they did in 2007). Over the next few months Hopkinton leaders will be working on a timeline to build consensus on what type of new or renovated building would be supported by taxpayers going forward, for example surveys, public forums and focus groups conducted with a variety of residents.