$60 million Bay Path renovation will need OKs from all 10 towns.


Byline: Ellie Oleson

If all 10 member towns approve the project, ground could be broken by spring 2013 for a $60 million renovation to Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School.

"We are still in the schematic design phase. It is early," said David P. Papagni, district superintendent.

He said he expected to have "real numbers" to present to all member towns starting at the end of this month.

"Town meetings in 10 towns have to approve this or we can't do it. If it is approved by June of 2012, we can start the drawings. We hope to break ground in spring of 2013," he said, adding that the process of renovating the nearly 40-year-old school building began in 2007.

"This would be the only major capital project done at the school since the doors opened in 1972. The idea is to give the district another 50 years."

Most of the project would be renovation, but 50,000 square feet of space will be added. The 198,000-square-foot, two-story school sits on 91 acres at 57 Old Muggett Hill Road in Charlton.

Mr. Papagni said the school needs a new roof, sprinkler system, heating and ventilation system, asbestos abatement and improved accessibility, among other things.

"There are no new gymnasiums or swimming pools here. We have problems due to age and other issues. For instance, we need to meet state standards for science labs. Our mission has changed. We are now as strong academically as we are vocationally and technically. And we were built for 850 students; we have 1,065, and the MSBA has set our design enrollment at 1,110."

He estimated that the project would cost $60 million, and said the Massachusetts School Building Authority reimbursements are at 57.74 percent, plus points.

"We are confident we will get up over 60 percent. That means 40 percent of the cost would be divided by 10 towns over 30 years. That means pennies per $1,000 on a tax bill."

Member towns are: Auburn, Oxford, Charlton, Southbridge, Paxton, Spencer, Webster, Dudley...

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