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The original item was published from 11/16/2020 9:28:00 PM to 11/17/2020 9:23:33 AM.

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Posted on: November 16, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Understanding the Middle School Building Systems Project


Wellesley is holding a special election on December 1, 2020 to vote on a proposed debt exclusion.

Residents are casting ballots on one question: To decide whether or not to allow a temporary increase in property taxes, outside the limits of Proposition 21/2 ,  to fund renovations, repairs, and updates to the Wellesley Middle School building.  

This proposed $12.8 million capital project would extend the use of the building for another 25 years. Most of the work will take place during Summer 2021 and be completed by early Fall 2021.

If approved, the project would temporarily increase property taxes beginning in July 2021. Here are a few scenarios to help homeowners determine the initial tax impact. 

  • For properties worth $500,000, the tax bill would increase by $71
  • For properties worth $1,158,000 (the current median home value in Wellesley), the tax bill would increase by $164
  • For properties worth $2,000,000, the tax bill would increase by $284

The tax impact would decline in subsequent years. The debt will be paid over 10 years. 

The proposed work involves much-needed interior and exterior improvements that have been bundled together to keep costs as low as possible. These include:

  • Replacing the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems in two gyms and the auditorium.
  • Renovating the kitchen, improving work flow, and replacing equipment to meet current health and safety standards. The WMS kitchen prepares food for the middle school and all elementary schools.
  • Expanding the cafeteria entrance to more easily accommodate students.
  • Repairing casework and doors for 62 classrooms, renovating three art rooms and one science room, and installing a "quick action" door locking system for increased classroom and office security.
  • Repairing specific building exteriors including brick masonry and limestone, the cupola, steps, retaining walls, and replacing the chain link fence in the Donizetti Street parking lot.

See the complete project description and budget here.

Detailed project information is explained in this presentation to Town Meeting Members at the October 2020 Special Town Meeting. Town Meeting members approved the middle school building systems project with a vote count of 219 Yes, 5 No, and 1 Abstain.

Ballots for the December 1 special election have been mailed to all residents requesting to vote-by-mail. Residents may also vote in-person at polling locations on December 1. Visit the Town Clerk webpages for complete Voting & Election information.

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