Frequently Asked Questions

Download a PDF of all FAQ’s (13-Feb-2014)

Glossary (1)

Selecting a qualified Architect and Engineer (Designer) is one of the most important decisions in a successful project. North Middlesex High School Building Committee (HSBC) will work closely with the Designer from the beginning of the feasibility study, through design and the completion of construction. The Designer is responsible for the Design and Engineering of the Building and Site Work. Services performed by the Designer and its sub-consultants include but not necessarily limited to: Preparation of master plans, studies, surveys, soil tests, cost estimates, and programs. Preparation of drawings, plans, and specifications to include: Feasibility Studies, Schematic, Design Development and Contract Document Drawings and Specifications. Administration of the Contract Documents during Construction. The Building Committee has selected Symmes Maini McKee Associates (SMMA) Cambridge, MA as their Designer.

The Educational Program includes: course offerings, curriculum, scheduling, class size, unique program needs (ie: physical education, visual arts, world languages, Special Education) and resources.

FF & E
Fixtures, Furnishings and Equipment – FF&E is an important part of the design process, and is broken out as a separate budget item. Fixtures might include items such as whiteboards, bulletin boards, window treatments, bathroom stall partitions, signage, right down to pencil sharpeners. Furnishings would include items like desks, chairs, casework (cabinets, counters and display cases), bookcases and filing cabinets. Equipment includes items such as the Intercom head end in the office, TV/media carts, refrigerators, hoods and lab equipment, and special equipment in the Kitchen and Servery, Gymnasium, Auditorium, Music, Arts, SPED areas and Nurse’s Office.

This is the first phase of a large school building project, and was conducted by SMMA. The Feasibility Study involves the collection of volumes of data, including detailed evaluation of existing building and site conditions, analysis of educational programming and needs, and establishment of goals and desired outcomes of the project. This phase involved: a full site survey with wetlands demarcation, a full building survey with collection of existing building plans, a hazardous materials survey, a traffic study, evaluation of other buildings in the District for possible high school use, a detailed analysis of our education program, including interviews with staff, students, administrators, and input from community members via several visioning sessions held in each community. Using the information, SMMA developed 9 solutions for the building committee to consider and evaluate, each with its own preliminary cost estimate, and list of pros and cons. The possible solutions fell into the categories of: renovate in place, partial renovation with addition, and new construction. Of the possible solutions, the SBC had to choose the top 3, and rank them, for submission to the MSBA. The result of this phase is the PSR, which is delivered to the MSBA for review and approval.

High School Building Committee

Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning;
Also known as HVACR, which includes Refrigeration.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings. LEED is a design tool that helps building owners be environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently. Our Designer, SMMA will use LEED guidelines to design systems in the new building that use less resources than standard systems that are required by building codes. SMMA will design extra efficient systems for indoor air quality and thermal comfort (HVAC), lighting and daylighting (using natural light), water usage, waste stream reduction, recycling, and other areas, so that the new building achieves LEED Silver Certification. The MSBA will increase their reimbursement rate by 2 percentage points for achieving LEED Silver – this translates into roughly $1.3 Million additional grant funds from MSBA.

Massachusetts School Building Authority – the State entity to which we are applying for a grant to help fund the High School Building Project

MSBA Participation means the MSBA will provide grant funds for a portion of the item in question. MSBA is charged with funding school building projects, distributing limited tax dollars in the form of grants to many communities for many projects in a fair and equitable manner. In order to accomplish this, many project scope items are excluded from receiving grant assistance, and some indirect project costs are simply ineligible for MSBA Reimbursement. For instance, MSBA does not participate in building sports fields (their mission is to build schools), or in permit fees. For project items in which MSBA does not participate (provide grant funding), communities are free to fund such items at their sole cost. MSBA specifically directs that for bidding purposes, scope items in which it does participate, shall not be comingled with items in which it does not participate (the two categories can’t be mixed). Therefore, the Base Bid includes the scope of the school building and items in which the MSBA participates, with limits. The other items, in which MSBA does not participate, must be bid as Alternates (typically, add-on pricing for each item). The Alternates are very important items for the project, could be mission critical even, but due to MSBA’s requirements, pricing for these pieces must be separate from the Base Bid pricing.

New England Association of Schools and Colleges – This is the entity that inspects and evaluates the high school every 10 years for compliance with minimum standards for education and facilities, and determines accreditation status of North Middlesex Regional High School.

North Middlesex Regional School District

Massachusetts law requires the hiring of an Owner’s Project Manager (“OPM”) prior to designer selection on all public construction projects valued at more than $1.5 million. The Owners Project Manager (OPM) is accountable to both the North Middlesex High School Building Committee (HSBC) and the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). The OPM is the center of a project management process to include but not necessarily limited to the following responsibilities: improving communication between all parties working on the project, controlling the project budget, recommendations for design, cost, quality, schedule improvements, manage contractor/subcontractor pre-qualification process, oversee the bidding process, assist the Owner with negotiation and award of a construction contract, provide a full-time, on-site representative ensuring quality construction, facilitating prompt dispute resolution, inspect completed work, develop punch lists in coordination with the designer, provide monthly reporting to HSBC and MSBA, etc. The Building Committee has selected Heery International, Inc. Burlington, MA as their OPM.

Preliminary Design Plan – Submitted to MSBA on May 8, 2013 Reviewed by MSBA. The purpose of this document is to define the programmatic, functional, spatial, and environmental requirements of the educational facility necessary to meet the District’s educational program, and perform the review and investigation required to clearly define the existing building deficiencies.

Preferred Solution Report – Submitted to MSBA on June 13, 2103, Addendum #1 submitted to MSBA on June 28, 2013, the PSR was approved by MSBA on July 31, 2013. The purpose of this document is to finalize the Preliminary Design Program, summarize the process and conclusions of the preliminary evaluation of alternatives and substantiate and document the District’s selection and recommendation for a preferred solution.

Once the Preferred Solution was determined and approved by the MSBA, SMMA embarked on the Schematic Design, which develops the Preferred Solution to approximately 25% of the Design Process. SD is a common stage gate for large building projects. At the conclusion of SD, basic floor plans have been developed, major systems have been determined, and site work has been defined. Many decisions have been made by the SBC as to what scope items to include in the Base Bid, what to scope items to make an Alternate(s), and what items to remove from the project completely. Toward the end of SD, two detailed Cost Estimates were developed, one by the Designer, SMMA, and one by the OPM, Heery. Those two Estimates were then reconciled. Thereupon, the SBC reviewed the Cost Estimate and made further budget cuts and tweaked the Alternates. At the end of SD, the Designer and the OPM work to prepare the program, plans, and estimate, all in the format required by MSBA. This document, known as the Project Scope And Budget, is scheduled to be submitted to MSBA on December 12, 2013. This document will be reviewed by MSBA, and the process culminates with the Meeting with the Project Team at MSBA on January 10, 2014. If the MSBA agrees, the successful outcome is an executed MSBA Project Scope and Budget Agreement. Once the Project Scope and Budget are is approved by MSBA, the MSBA grant funding proportion will be known, and, applying that to the estimate, the financial impact to the towns can be calculated. The 3 Towns will need to first approve the Base Bid and each Alternate as separate warrant articles at a Spring Special Town Meeting. A vote to fund the district’s portion of each item will follow on the April ballot. For an item to be approved and move forward, all 3 Towns must vote YES at Town Meetings AND also vote YES at the Ballot Elections . The project (or parts thereof) will not move forward without MSBA and District Voter approval at the end of the SD phase.

Symmes Maini & McKee Associates, the design lead architectural firm selected by MSBA & NMRSD to conduct the Feasibility Study and the Schematic Design for the High School Building Project. The towns voted to fund the Feasibility Study and Schematic Design in 2012, part of which will be reimbursed by the MSBA.

The Summary of Spaces is the list of rooms (spaces) and their respective sizes that will be designed (available spaces for various learning environments). A reduced space footprint from the optimal desired space program does not affect the educational program, the change can be mitigated in large part by improved scheduling and policy changes. The MSBA has very strict funding and building space program requirements to which the district must adhere.

Technology includes items such as computers (hardware and software, user equipment and network gear), copiers, printers, projectors, and telephones.

General (20)

The New Building is being designed for 870 students. This is based on current and projected enrollment figures in accordance with MSBA guidelines.

The MSBA uses a data based enrollment projection methodology in order to build right-sized schools throughout the Commonwealth.

The MSBA calculates the enrollment of the High School based on current enrollment, district (member towns) population estimates, population trends across the Commonwealth, along with school choice trends. They include the number of students that currently choice out of North Middlesex and also look at the trends across the Commonwealth that choice back into their District after a new building is constructed.

Read MSBA’s enrollment projections for NMRSD.

While there have been some conflicting news articles in recent months on the population trends for our member towns, most towns in the Commonwealth, including our three towns are projecting decreasing population trends over the next 10 years.

The total square footage is 180,530 square feet. This is 17,000 square feet smaller than the current building.

All information is available on the Project Website – Updated Information is also provided to each of the three local libraries for review and check out. Copies of information are also available at the Central Office for review (review only, not check out) during normal business hours.

The current High School was built in 1960 and is over 50 years old. In 1970, a Middle School Addition was added and the building has outlived its useful life. The new high school facility is needed due to the following educational and infrastructure deficiencies:

  • Science labs that do not support the high school curriculum as mandated by the state
  • Imminent boiler failure concerns
  • Inadequate air exchange in classrooms and common areas affecting ventilation and indoor air quality
  • Electrical systems that are unable to support 21st century needs including basic power, technology and security
  • Inadequate auditorium, stage and music facilities
  • Substandard physical plant and space needs
  • Inadequate visual art rooms

The cost of this project will include all costs to design, construct and furnish the new high school, demolish the old building, site work and landscaping, parking lots and roadways, required accessibility upgrades to the football bleachers and Press Box, and required toilet facilities.

The project will be constructed in two (2) phases with some intermediate milestones. Phase 1 will be the construction of the new building and Phase 2 will be the razing of the existing building along with final site work such as parking lot, landscaping/plantings. School will remain in full session throughout these phases. There will be some inconveniences and/or disruptions on the High School campus to include items such as: traffic flow, parking, underground utilities, and athletic fields. A more detailed Phasing Plan will be developed during the next Design Phase.

Safety is paramount and a top priority for all individuals: students, staff, visitors, construction workers, etc. There will be separation between school and construction operations by way of fencing, driveways, barricades and similar. Construction personnel while working on site will be required to be CORI Approved (Criminal Offender Record Information). The project team will continue to communication with School Administration, Parents, Police, Fire, Code Enforcement and other Town Agencies for their input.

Per current Building and Energy Codes, the new building must be highly energy efficient. The designer, SMMA, has designed portions of the building’s roof to be solar ready. The project will also be “LEED Silver Certified“, enabling the district to receive an additional 2% ($1.33 million) reimbursement on eligible project costs from MSBA.

The design of the new school incorporates an integrated security system. This new security system is significantly more advanced than the one that currently exists in the school. It will allow for easy identification of all personnel and visitors, more efficient use of video monitoring, integrated alarm systems, and electronic access control, while maintaining a healthy, vibrant, and exciting environment for learning.

Despite being very well maintained, the current high school building is over fifty years old and beyond its intended lifespan. The building is used seven days a week by both the school and community, and just like your home, after fifty years of heavy use, things wear out. In 2011, NEASC placed the high school on probation, citing numerous deficiencies with the building and its ability to support 21st century learning curriculum.

Some of the major deficiencies include:

  • Educational Curriculum: Science labs are out of date, too small, and unable to support the state mandated curriculum. The art rooms, auditorium, state, and music facilities are also inadequate.
  • Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC): Current systems are inefficient and seriously deteriorated. The boiler is in a state of disrepair and in danger of imminent failure. On any given day, some rooms in the high school can be extremely warm where others are extremely cold. Poor air exchange and ventilation results in deficient indoor air quality.
  • Electrical and Technology Systems: The power needs of 21st century technology exceed capacity of the current system.
  • Security: There are multiple entrances and exits located in remote areas of the building, the public address system is limited in functionality, and security monitoring systems are outdated. These pose challenges to ensuring student safety and overall school security.
  • HAZMAT: Hazardous materials, such as asbestos, are present throughout the building. If renovations or repairs are needed in areas where these materials are present, they must first be abated, which will significantly increase the costs of any renovation or repair.

The School Committee has been pursuing a grant from the MSBA to address these and other needs of the building since 2006. In January 2012, the MSBA invited the district to participate in a high school building feasibility study. During the feasibility study, it was determined a new building was required. In January 2014, the MSBA approved the district’s proposal for a new high school building and was added to MSBA’s list of projects to be funded immediately.

If the three member towns do not approve moving forward with the project:

  • The NEASC probation status will likely remain and could lead to the high school losing its accreditation.
  • The district would be forced to the end of the line should it later decide to re-engage with the MSBA. The process to be accepted into the MSBA grant process would take another 5+ years and require another feasibility study be completed.
  • Our students will continue to fall behind their peers educationally, as new technology and educational advances are not available to our students given our current facility.
  • The risk of a critical system failure continues to rise. A system failure (ie, boiler) would be disruptive to our children’s education and require the towns to fully provide the funds necessary for the emergency repairs. These expenses would be costly, un-reimbursable, and unplanned.
  • Continued high costs in order to maintain the outdated infrastructure in the current building.
  • The benefits of today’s economic conditions will be lost. While the current economic climate makes it difficult for citizens to fund large projects due to the potential impact on their taxes, these same economic conditions make it the ideal time to build a new building. Construction costs and interest rates are historically low, and MSBA’s reimbursement rates are high.
  • The population in our towns will continue to decline and age. The quality of a community’s schools is a deciding factor for perspective residents. With the current high school’s aging infrastructure and probation status with NEASC, our towns cannot compete with other area towns, causing current residents to move away and perspective residents to not move in. A reduced population will cause a reduction to the town’s tax base, leaving the remaining residents to pay a bigger share of the town’s expenses or suffer further reduction in services
    – making our community even less attractive to perspective residents.

The SBC, with the help of the OPM and the designer, has been working collaboratively with the MSBA to determine the appropriate needs and size of the new school project. These decisions are based on calculations utilized and approved by the MSBA for both today’s school population and projected future needs. The SBC considered the size recommended by the MSBA (175,000 Sq. Ft.), and the unique needs of our school community, and after deliberation, cut back on the desired space footprint (190,000 Sq. Ft.), to arrive at 180,533 Sq. Ft. in the Preferred Solution. This compromise was made in an effort to balance the space needs of the educational program and the need to minimize the financial burden on the District’s taxpayers. The MSBA has very strict funding and space program requirements to which we must adhere. Many learning spaces will be designed with flexibility for future use. The final school building project will meet the needs of the community for many years to come. As part of the design process, the Designers ensure the building is designed so that it could be expanded in the future if necessary.

The new high school will contain some of the latest technology available in terms of student participation and interaction, including interactive presentation technology, individual learning spaces, computer technology, and support for bring your own device (BYOD) which will provide for student technology needs well into the future. The technology component will be integrated into many aspects of the learning environment, and the project budget includes a technology allowance based on the number of students.

Recognizing the advantage of having Central Office located at the High School campus, the SBC evaluated the inclusion of new Central Office space in the project. MSBA does not participate in construction of Central Office space, so it would need to be an Alternate. Due to the need to maximize the educational space of the project, and funding concerns, the Superintendent moved to remove Central Office from the project scope, and the SBC agreed.

The HVAC system is actually several systems:

  • The Heating system has reached the end of its expected design life. The boiler is severely deteriorated – it cannot be fixed, it must be replaced very soon. The boiler is very inefficient, and our fuel costs are high. The thermostats and heating pipes are also failing.
  • The Ventilation system does not meet Building Code for minimum air exchange. The Unit Ventilators in each room are noisy, inefficient and difficult to control. They are antiquated and a constant maintenance burden. Lack of proper ventilation was cited by NEASC.
  • There is no central Air Conditioning system in the building – a few Administration areas have limited window A/C units.
  • Comfort of the building occupants is important. Heating and ventilation breakdowns are very disruptive to the learning environment.
  • Operationally a new HVAC system will be cost effective and environmentally balanced.

The existing Auditorium seat count is approximately 515.
The proposed Auditorium seat count would be approximately 576.

The Gymnasium will be able to handle large functions, however, it is not likely that graduation will be able to be held. During final design occupancy capacity of the gymnasium will be determined.

One of the reasons the HSBC selected new construction was that new construction, in the presently planned location, would minimize student disruption during the school day.

If the Athletics Alternate is approved by the towns and executed if bid savings are realized, it will present some disruption during the course of the construction project. The extent of disruption will depend on the activities that are able to be executed but could include: (Please refer to Q7)

  • Upgrade of the track could impact the track and field season depending on the schedule for construction
  • Upgrade of the main football field could impact home games during a season of football dependent on the schedule for construction
  • Practice fields will need to be adjusted dependent on construction schedule
  • Parking at home games (outdoor and current gym use) will be impacted during the construction schedule

The OPM and Designers will work with the general contractor to minimize disruption whenever possible.

Site Plan with OverlayHere is a drawing showing the proposed layout for the grounds (click for a larger version). The proposed new building is in orange, with the existing building shaded in gray. This and other views of the proposed building are available on our new design page.

The current project plan does not include a traffic light, and it is unlikely one would be approved by MassDOT – the costs of which are not supported by the MassDOT or the MSBA. The project plan does include two crosswalks with advanced flashing warning signals. The new plan also includes one less curb cut along Main Street. The proposed curb cut re-alignments, new signage, pedestrian signals, and a new dedicated left turn lane into the school for eastbound Main Street traffic are designed to improve traffic flow and student safety on the property and across Main Street.

Schedule (5)

All three member towns must approve the funding for the project to move forward. In the event that the local funding vote fails, the District must, within 10 business days of the failed vote, submit a plan to the MSBA that 1) presents the vote results; 2) explains the District’s understanding of why the vote failed; and 3) sets forth the District’s plan to remedy the failed vote and a suggested timeline for such a remedy. The MSBA will review the plan and determine whether it can continue to set aside funds for the project. In the event that the MSBA Board of Directors votes to remove the project from the capital pipeline as a result of the failed vote, the District would then be required to submit a new Statement of Interest for the project and await a second invitation from the MSBA to conduct a feasibility study.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the late spring of 2015.

The Design Team consisting of Architects and Engineers has extensive design criteria and coordination to execute. They will work with the OPM to coordinate with Local and State Agencies for their review and approval along with intermediate cost estimates. The Designer and OPM will also be providing bi-weekly to monthly updates for the review and approval by High School Building Committee and public. Design Phase will consist of Design Development, Contract Documents and Pre-qualification of Contractors. After the Design is complete, contractors will provided approximately 8 weeks to estimate and submit their bid prices. After bids are received and analyzed a contract is awarded and the General Contractor beings their mobilization to the site all of which
can take 2 to 4 weeks.

Summer 2018, including demolition of the old building and site restoration work.

Anticipated September 2017 occupancy.

Cost (11)

The Building Committee conducted a Feasibility Study to determine the preferred option for our High School infrastructure needs. This review considered:

  • Renovation of the existing building
  • Construction of a new High School
  • Utilization of the existing district building to solve the High School infrastructure needs

The Feasibility Study included feedback from taxpayers, parents, teachers/administrators and community and town officials. The Feasibility Study also analyzed the financial impact each of these options would have on the communities. The detailed results of the Feasibility Study are included in the Preferred Schematic Report – The reports and presentation materials can be found on our web page:

The conceptual design estimate for an addition/renovation option for the existing high school was $74,092,020 (construction costs) plus $14,818,404 (associated costs), for an estimated total of $88.9M. The current proposal for a new building is budgeted at $89.1M.

In summary – the main reasons the Building Committee recommended constructing a new High School include:

  • The main mechanical systems of the current building are at end of life and need replacement (for example, heating system and domestic hot water) or upgrade (for example, the current electrical capacity is insufficient to support today’s technology needs).
  • The process of replacing and/or upgrading these systems disrupts enough of the building that the entire building must be brought up to today’s codes – the estimated cost to just bring the building up to code was >$40M – this did not include the needed educational upgrades and likely, as it would not meet the educational and program needs of the district, would not have been supported by the MSBA.
  • As detailed in the referenced documents, the Committee also explored going beyond a code-only project to include addressing upgrades to the educational spaces based on current and anticipated future educational needs. While the overall cost of the project would have only been slightly less (approximately $2-5M lower depending on the option selected) this would have resulted in:
    • A 25 year solution to the problem as opposed to the selected 50+ year solution
    • Increased maintenance and energy costs associated with heating/cooling the expansive square footage of the existing building
    • Extensive disruption to students during the course of the 4+ year project
    • Additional costs for temporary classrooms for use during construction activities

Ultimately, the Building Committee voted to pursue the new building because the new building will be able to achieve all education needs with the least disruption to students while gaining a building that will have twice the life expectancy of a renovated building.

MSBA Regulation and Policies limit reimbursement on certain categories and provide no reimbursement on other categories.

Examples of items required for the project which receive no reimbursement include: Legal fees, permit fees, Building Committee administrative costs, both current alternates, Designer and OPM fees associated with the alternates, costs associated with removing certain hazardous materials, mailing and moving costs.

Examples of limited reimbursement include caps on Designer and OPM fees, cost caps on the total cost of the site development and the total cost of the building, cost caps on technology and furniture purchases.

The current Project Scope and Budget Agreement as estimated at this phase of the project and endorsed by MSBA outlines a total of $19.8M of cost considered ineligible or excluded scope in accordance with MSBA Regulations and Policies. Approximately $1M represents items for which the MSBA provides no reimbursement and the remainder is the sum of the caps on Designer and OPM fees, cost caps on the total cost of the site development and the total cost of the building, cost caps on technology and furniture purchases.

Yes, the cost of abatement, demolition and site restoration is included in the Base Bid Estimate.

The Total Project Budget for the Base Bid is currently estimated at $89,084,977. This includes bricks & mortar, site work, demolition, and soft costs such as design fees, permit fees, utility company fees, testing, FF&E, Technology, Contingencies, etc. Currently, two Add Alternates (costs to be added to the Base Bid if accepted) are planned:

  • Alt. A – Maintenance Building, is estimated at $801,350
  • Alt. B – Renovation of the Track and Football Field, is estimated at $2,688,916

Alternates must be used to obtain pricing for project scope or items which are not reimbursable by MSBA, in order to keep pricing for Reimbursable and Non-Reimbursable items separate. Keep in mind these are SD estimates, and cannot be considered precise. The actual cost for each item will not be known until General Bids are opened in spring of 2015.

The Building Committee will be working with the OPM and Design Team at SMMA to ensure the most cost effective building is delivered to our three communities.

The total project budget with MSBA has been finalized at $89,084,977. The North Middlesex Regional School District through its three member towns will be asked to appropriate the entire amount with MSBA providing up to $40,210,028 in reimbursement of eligible cost. Each town’s portion of the balance is calculated on the basis of population.

How each town funds their portion of the project depends on the wishes of the voters in each town. One option is for the school district to issue a bond, which is repaid over a period of years. The additional tax levy for the bond payments usually exceeds the limit of how much taxes can be raised in one year, given the Proposition 2½ law. A Debt Exclusion vote by the Taxpayers is one method by which the additional tax levy for the school bond is excluded from that yearly tax increase calculation. Typically, the voters in each town would approve a debt exclusion for the purpose of funding their town’s portion of the project costs. Often, the town’s cost of the bond is amortized over a 20 or 30 year period, during which time residents can either pay a specific declining amount per year or level debt service until the debt is paid. The district in collaboration with the towns will determine the best option. Once the debt has been paid, the payment is removed from the tax rate.

Based on the current maximum MSBA grant, the impact to the three member towns is approximately $48,800,000. For the individual tax payer, this would equate to:

  • Townsend – $159/$100,000 of home value
  • Pepperell – $142/$100,000 of home value
  • Ashby – $143/$100,000 of home value

The project will require temporary borrowing to fund the various stages of construction. The interest payments on the temporary borrowing will be paid yearly during the project. The smaller interest only payments will begin starting in the 2015 tax year. The permanent bond for the project will be issued upon completion of construction. Based on this, we anticipate the taxpayers will start seeing this cost in their 2018 tax bill.

There are a number of factors that will determine the ongoing maintenance and operations of the new school. The SBC has determined that the maintenance of the new school must be a priority of the community moving forward and there will be an updated maintenance plan. In terms of operating costs, the building will be designed to meet or exceed the standard set forth by LEED. This means that the energy efficiency of the design will be at a minimum of 25-30% greater than the standards required by the current state building code. This added efficiency will allow for greater energy savings and will help maintain operating costs. The SBC believes that the new school will be vastly more efficient to operate than the current building and will provide for more consistent cost control due to its design, green technologies, and efficiencies. When determining future operating costs and maintenance costs of the new school one must consider the efficiencies that will be realized in the new school vs. current expenditures to operate and maintain the existing school. Once the calculations of operating and maintenance of the new building are compared with the cost of the old building we believe the net result will be a better value for the NMRSD (added technology will result in higher electrical costs).

The SBC working with our Owner’s Project Manager, Heery, along with the business office, district treasurer, and construction supervisors, will all work to assure the appropriate expenditure of funds consistent with the procurement and accounting laws as mandated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the NMRSD. The SBC, as part of the process since day one, has worked diligently to assure that the final product will be the best possible value for the NMRSD in every aspect. We believe that upon completion of this process, the final accounting will demonstrate that we received a great product at a great value.

Education (7)

Yes, we considered future educational needs in the design of the building ensuring there was flexibility of design and numerous opportunities for multiple use spaces in the building. The new building will also be able to support the technology needs of 21st Century education.

The new building reinforces the Educational Program by providing a technology infrastructure to support teacher and student needs well into the future. The infrastructure will be multi-platform and will include a wireless campus network that will support one student to one device (1:1) computing in the future. The program maintains the existing Business Lab and Architecture / Engineering CAD lab. The current Art Graphics MAC lab curriculum will be incorporated into the Architecture / Engineering CAD lab through the use of specific technology and scheduling. The Media Center will continue to be a technology rich environment. The existing “typical computer labs” (3) will not be included in the project as defined space since the expectation of a 1:1 environment will replace that need. The district is currently exploring a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy for the students.

While the use of on-line education is being used more and more in College and University level education, studies continue to show that face to face learning in elementary and high school students will continue well into the future.

No. NMRHS is a comprehensive, college preparatory high school and does not receive funding from the State to provide vocational programs. For students desiring a vocational education, each town has a designated Vocational Technical School option available to them.

The new building will immediately impact how teachers are able to deliver instruction because they will have access to the most up-to-date equipment and 21st century technology. For example:

  • All science classrooms will be outfitted for the type of science taught in it including all necessary safety equipment to perform required experiments in that field.
  • Larger science classroom will enable students to safely perform experiments using tools from modern-day laboratories
  • Our engineering program will be enhanced with an efficient fabrication space that will allow students to design, build and test their prototypes.
  • Interdisciplinary courses in the Humanities will have access to large group instructional spaces.
  • The new television studio will enable NM to once again offer courses in Mass Media & Television Production as we will have the facilities to support the program.
  • The Fitness Center & Weight Room will house the types of training equipment that one could find in any commercial health club.
  • Music classrooms will have proper acoustics, practice spaces, and secured storage areas to assure the continued success of our vocal and instrumental music programs.
  • Art classrooms will provide natural light and be large enough for students to fully explore their creativity.
  • The Auditorium will be fully outfitted with electronic, sound, and lighting equipment necessary for dramatic productions and music performances.

The new building will afford us the opportunity to flexibly group students which has been shown in research enhance learning. All of our teachers will have access to spaces that are both large and small, enabling them to combine with other classes for interdisciplinary instruction or to split a class in order to work with smaller groups of students who may be in need of remediation or enrichment.

The cluster configuration of the classrooms and location of teacher work-spaces invites enrichment and collaboration. Teachers of English/Language Arts, Social Studies, World Languages, and the arts will be clustered together into a Culture & Humanities pod. Likewise, science, math, business technology, and engineering classrooms will be located adjacent to each other in a STEM pod. So, in the new building the physics and calculus teacher could be sharing an office and if the math teacher needs a “real life” example of a calculus function, the physics teacher is just a conversation away! In our current building, teachers may go weeks without seeing each other because of the size of the building alone.

The Library/Media Center in the new building will serve as the hub of the school. Here students will have access to the space and resources necessary for small groups of students to complete projects and other forms of hands-on assessment without disturbing others. Likewise, for students in need of remediation or support, the new Academic Support Center will have flexible grouping spaces, study corrals, and dedicated technology.

A new College and Career Center in the Guidance Suite will allow students to work on investigating potential career paths and prepare college applications. A more private Nurse’s Office will be located adjacent to the Guidance Suite which will allow the nurses and guidance counselors to more regularly consult with each other regarding students’ physical and mental health needs.

Initially the Program of Studies will remain relatively the same, although the new building will allow us to update the programs that we have into the 21st century. For example, the new building will enhance our existing engineering program by providing an up-to-date fabrication space that will allow students to design, build and test prototypes. Additionally, NM will be able to once again offer courses in Mass Media & Television Production as we will have the facilities for students to access.

Computer labs will not be needed in the new building as the infrastructure of the building will support 21st century technology appropriately and efficiently in a “real world” setting. Students will be able to access school provided computers and/or tablets as well eventually be allowed to access their own personal technology at school.

Currently we are limited in our ability to expand highly specialized programming for our students within our school district. Thus, these students often require placement in programs that are outside of the school district. These placements are costly and due to our geographical location the associated transportation costs may actually exceed the cost of tuition. It is not uncommon to have children on buses for an hour or more each way to access these placements. The additional high school space, and the flexibility of that space, will allow for expanded development of our in district programs and keep our students in our communities. Additionally, the Academic Support Center will allow us to more flexibly group and support both general education and special education students who are in need of extra assistance or remedial instruction addressing specific strategies and skills.

Yes, all NEASC accreditation issues will be resolved by a new building. The district is going through the decennial accreditation process during the 2013-2014 school year. As long as the District continues to make progress on the Building Project, and the current facility does not substantially deteriorate further, NEASC will not remove our High School’s accreditation, but will maintain the Probation status until the new facility is occupied, at which time we should become fully accredited again.

Athletics (4)

The construction will affect the current varsity baseball field for the duration of the construction. The current plan is for the baseball team to play at another field within the complex. All other fields will remain in full operation unless the Alternate of the renovation of track and football field is elected.

Renovation of the track and field would be an Alternate. However, the stands and the press box must be brought up to code for accessibility. In addition, the code for proximity and number of rest rooms must be addressed by construction of a new toilet facility. The stands, press box and toilet facility are included within the Base Bid scope.

The current running track is at the end of its natural life. It is deteriorated and could present a hazard to athletes. It is also too narrow to host track meets. The reimbursable costs associated with sitework is capped at 8% of the eligible building construction costs. For this and many other reasons, the SBC voted to make the renovation of Track and Field an Alternate. If this Alternate is approved by the Voters and Bid Savings are realized, the track will be replaced by a new 6/8 lane track and main football/multipurpose field which would allow for district-sponsored meets to be held at NM.

Not as part of this building project. However, the Renovation of Track and Field Alternate does include all of the sitework, utilities and prep needed for future installation of artificial turf by a separately funded source in the future.

Extra-Curricular Programming (2)

The project includes a 576 seat auditorium (a 61 seat increase over current capacity), a band room, lesson/practice areas, a choir area, and storage to support these programs.

Yes, the project includes a TV studio and video production area, control/editing room, and related storage space. The studio will also be available for community use during non-school hours.

Recently Asked Questions (3)

Yes, there is Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tile (VAT) in the existing building. During demolition, these tiles will be removed in accordance with local, state and federal regulations by a licensed abatement contractor with on-site monitoring by a licensed industrial hygienist.

The majority of the contracts will be fixed fee. Some of the professional services such as Materials Testing and Inspections will be performed on a unit cost basis.

Items such as Mechanical, Plumbing and Electrical infrastructure systems within the existing building will be separated during demolition and recycled. The recycled/salvage value of this material will be reflected in the contractors competitive bid price and ultimately lower the price the towns will pay to demolish the existing building.

Building Demolition (6)

Items such as Mechanical, Plumbing and Electrical infrastructure systems within the existing building will be separated during demolition and recycled. The recycled/salvage value of this material will be reflected in the contractors competitive bid price and ultimately lower the price the towns will pay to demolish the existing building.

The majority of the Mechanical, Plumbing and Electrical systems will not be reused. When this material is removed it will be separated, and recorded as Construction Waste Management. The quantity of material will be documented as credit points towards the project’s Sustainable LEED Silver Certificate. By achieving a LEED Silver Certificate the District (three towns) are eligible for an additional two incentive reimbursement points by the MSBA. The value of the recycled materials will be documented and will ultimately lower the price the towns pay to demolish the existing building.

The existing bricks will not be re-used. They will more than likely be separated, crushed and mixed in with other building materials such as excavated soils, rocks, concrete etc. These bricks will be utilized as recycled/processed material and used around the site as general backfill.

The majority of the contracts will be fixed fee. Some of the professional services such as Materials Testing and Inspections will be performed on a unit cost basis.

There will be “Built Drawings” when the project is complete. These drawings will be provided electronically to the District and Town Agencies.

Yes, there is Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tile (VAT) in the existing building. During demolition, these tiles will be removed in accordance with local, state and federal regulations by a licensed abatement contractor with on-site monitoring by a licensed industrial hygienist.