The Town of Wellesley will work with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) to jointly fund a feasibility study for the Ernest F. Upham Elementary School building project. At its meeting last week, the MSBA Board formally invited the Town into this partnership.
This invitation is not an approval of the project and does not guarantee future project funding, but it is a significant first step in moving the project forward as the invitation allows both groups to work together to explore possible solutions. The MSBA invitation also gives the Town the opportunity to study the John D. Hardy Elementary School site as part of the feasibility process.
At a Special Town Meeting in October 2018, Town Meeting Members voted to approve 2.5 million dollars to fund a feasibility study of options to renovate or replace either Hardy or Upham Elementary School and a schematic design for the preferred solution at one site. As a result of the announced partnership, the MSBA is committing to partially fund the study and will work with the Town during the upcoming year to assemble a project team that will determine the preferred site and solution for a new school in Wellesley. Throughout the process, Wellesley will be able to be reimbursed for 31% of all eligible expenses for the project as long as the Town meets certain MSBA criteria.
“While still very early in the planning and design process, the MSBA’s commitment to and support for this feasibility study validates the educational needs of our community, and we look forward to this partnership as it helps shape the future and funding for this project in the coming years,” said Sharon Gray, School Building Committee chair. “We’ve been told by MSBA staff that elementary school building projects are currently running about five to seven years to completion. “
The Wellesley School Committee and the Board of Selectmen began work on the Hardy/Upham project in 2017 and will now involve the School Building Committee to help develop the feasibility study.