Member communities to consider regional school repairs

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Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School. Photo/Submitted

Region – For the first time in many years, Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School (AVRTHS) must reach beyond the school walls to tackle a major repair project. After a Feasibility Study Phase with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), it was agreed that necessary repairs to the roof, windows, HVAC systems, Life Safety Systems, the emergency generator, electrical panels and lighting, selected plumbing and fixtures, ADA access, and a modernization of some science labs must be done soon, and by qualified outside contractors. In November 2011, the MSBA Board of Directors unanimously voted to provide $33.1 million in grant funds towards the expected $62.4 million project, making the balance of the project far more affordable to the school's seven member communities.

The regional agreement specifies how the debt impact will be apportioned among the communities, using an average three-year enrollment, but all seven communities must vote to approve the project before Saturday, June 30, or the MSBA grant will be withdrawn.

Superintendent Mary Jo Nawrocki and other members of the school's Building Committee are preparing to visit member town meetings and City Council meetings to discuss the project, answer questions and ask for support.

“It's not as if we can just decide not to do the work,” Nawrocki said. “Even the state has agreed that this building has been meticulously maintained, but 40-year-old buildings need certain repairs to the infrastructure that will not fit within our curriculum or scope of student abilities. It's time to call in the experts and get it done, with or without state funding. It just would be a huge mistake to let this money go back to the state coffers and have our member communities pay the total cost in their assessments. This is like getting a 50 percent off coupon on a $62.4 million project.

“We have all the details of the scope of the project, the timeline and the effective cost to the member communities spelled out clearly on our website, www.assabettech.com. This school belongs to the students, current and future, of Berlin, Hudson, Marlborough, Maynard, Northborough, Southborough and Westborough, and they deserve nothing less than the full support of their hometowns. It's decision time.”

Public Information Sessions have already been arranged in Marlborough, Hudson and Maynard.

For Marlborough residents, there will be a meeting Monday, March 26, at 7 p.m. in the AVRTHS auditorium, at 215 Fitchburg S. Hudson residents are invited to attend a Public Information Session at the Hudson Town Hall at 7 p.m. Monday, April 2, while Maynard residents should visit the Maynard Library at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, if they have any questions about the project.