Superintendent David DiBarri wishes to provide a progress update on Northeast Metro Tech’s School Building Project.
Over the last year, the Northeast Metro Tech project team has been working to develop options that would solve the space, capital and maintenance issues of the more than 50-year-old building.
The Northeast Metro Tech project team has continued to work its way through the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) design process and is expected to soon finish the Feasibility Study phase. The project achieved a major milestone in December by submitting the Preferred Schematic Report (PSR), the second of six design packages, to the MSBA.
In accordance with MSBA requirements, the PSR further studied the remaining options that were highlighted in the previous submission — the Preliminary Design Program (PDP) which was submitted in August 2020 — that refined the design and construction options to the following:
•Option A: Base repair of existing school
•Options B.2: Addition/Renovation
•Options C.1, C.2, and C.3: New construction on site
The latter two options were evaluated at various student enrollment ranges — 1,250 (current enrollment), 1,400, 1,600, 1,660, and 1,722. — as well as the District’s future goals in order to determine the best possible layout.
Per the School Building Committee and project team’s recommendation, the PSR concluded by recommending that the project proceed with Option C.3 with a design enrollment of 1,600 students. Some of the highlights of this design include:
• Putting the career technical and academic classes in the same part of the building to allow for collaboration among students.
• Creating large, public areas at the opposite end of the building from the classrooms, which helps separate the spaces and enhance security.
• Housing the administrative offices, auditorium, cafeteria and construction shop space on the first floor, and the design and communication, and academic classrooms on the second and third floors.
• Constructing a new main access road off of Farm Street, which will help alleviate traffic congestion. This road will eventually be connected to the existing main entrance off Hemlock Road in order to create a loop.
• Building new, larger athletic fields where the current building stands, as well as reserving the current football and track facility for future developments if needed.
Additionally, this was determined to be the least disruptive of all options, as it can be constructed in phases away from the existing building and does not require the use of temporary facilities.
Going forward, the project team and Northeast Metro Tech. District will be meeting with the MSBA Board of Directors on Feb. 11, for review of the PSR and for hopeful approval to proceed into Module 4 of the MSBA process- Schematic Design. This phase will have the preferred construction option fleshed out to show optimal site and building layouts based on programming meetings with dozens of staff and stakeholders; functionality of the building; more detailed cost estimates for each scope of service and for the project’s maximum MSBA grant; and a more detailed schedule.
The District will submit the Schematic Design report to the MSBA in July with hopeful approval at the August MSBA Board of Directors meeting. If the project earns MSBA scope and budget approval at the August meeting, the communities Northeast Metro Tech serves will be called upon to contribute their portion of the project’s budget towards the fall of 2021. All stakeholders can continue to check for the latest updates and information on all aspects of the project at northeastbuildingproject.com.