Marlborough continues discussion on possible Richer School expansion

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Marlborough’s Richer School is located at 80 Foley Road. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

MARLBOROUGH – Discussion continued on an effort to address overcrowding in Marlborough   schools, last week, when the City Council voted 11-0 to refer a statement of interest to the Finance Committee. 

The City Council met on March 28, reviewing the statement, which the Marlborough Public Schools is ultimately looking to send to the Massachusetts School Building Authority

A letter from schools Director of Finance and Operations Doug Dias specifically noted Richer Elementary School, discussing an interest in pursuing a renovation/addition at the school.

“School Administrators believe that a renovation/addition of the Richer School would address the existing capital improvement needs of the school as well as address critical space constraints of our elementary program,” Dias wrote.

Mayor Arthur Vigeant described the statement of interest as a first step that allows districts to communicate to the MSBA an interest in potential school building or reconstruction projects. He wrote in his own letter to the City Council that the statement is not a commitment by Marlborough to any project or funding. 

Vigeant wrote that the statement enables districts to inform the MSBA about deficiencies in local school facilities. If sent, it would also detail how those deficiencies could obstruct the district’s educational program. 

Vigeant added that the addition of 290 new students since October 2021 has brought total enrollment in the district to be “just over” 5,000.

He noted “brief” discussions with the School Committee around the Richer School.

“While I believe that we will need to address the immediate space constraints and the renovation, I’m concerned that Richer School will not provide the adequate space needed and more in-depth analysis needs to be conducted before addressing capital needs,” Vigeant wrote.

At the City Council meeting, Councilor Mark Oram referred to a previous enrollment projection made during construction of Marlborough’s Goodnow Brothers school in 2015.

Marlborough is considering capacity concerns at elementary schools, like the Richer School in town. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

“We’re already at 2,478 [students], so we’re already at 200 or so over what was projected,” Oram said, referencing elementary enrollment. “I know it was a projection, but, obviously, you can see there’s going to be a need for some additional school properties in our city.”

The Public Schools need City Council approval to submit a formal statement of interest to the MSBA by the authority’s deadline of April 29.

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