$46.8 million school eyed; Special town meeting slated for 7 tonight.


Byline: Brian Lee

WEBSTER - A special town meeting on a plan to demolish and replace the 50-year-old elementary school through a debt exclusion is set for 7 tonight at Bartlett High School, 52 Lake Parkway.

It is the right time to replace Park Avenue Elementary School, a $46.8 million project, because a high level of state reimbursement brings costs down for town taxpayers from $16 million to $17.4 million, Superintendent Gregory M. Ciardi said.

The projected cost to repair the existing building over the next few years is $19 million. Replacing boilers and the roof are among its many needs, Mr. Ciardi said.

Last week, the Massachusetts School Building Authority approved the project scope and budget agreement, which calls for a reimbursement rate of 76.86 percent, making the potential reimbursement to the town $29.4 million to $30.8 million.

A best estimate on the individual property tax impact is $175 to $191 a year, based on a single-family home assessed at $230,000, Mr. Ciardi said.

The proposal would also yield standard grade configurations, the school chief said.

The existing Park Avenue School holds students in kindergarten through Grade 2. The new building would hold kindergarten through Grade 4.

The middle school, presently holding Grades 3-6, would hold Grades 5-8, moving seventh- and eighth-graders out of the high school, which would please parents, Mr. Ciardi said.

Seventh- and eighth-graders are in a different developmental age than high school students, and benefit from a more nurturing environment in which...

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