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Board of Selectmen Hear the Details of $92.5 Million Building Project

High School Building Committee members fill in the board on their upcoming proposal.

Last night, the was the audience for a presentation on the proposed building project by members of the Building Committee and a representative of OMR Architects, the firm designing the new school facility.

The presentation given at last night's meeting is similar to what will be given at both Concord and Carlisle Town Meetings following the Massachusetts School Building Authority's anticipated approval of the later this month. Between now and the tentatively scheduled Nov. 7 Town Meeting, the main goal of the committee is to educate the public on the $92.5 million project.

Michelle Ernst of the Building Committee explained all of the major systems within the current high school are at or beyond their useful life. Co-Chairman of the committee Jerry Edge described the current high school as "A sprawling building that is falling apart, and doesn't meet our community or educational needs."

Wedge said the current conditions at CCHS put the school at risk of losing its accreditation, making at least some kind of project inevitable. It was explained that 10 different options, with up to 20 variations were explored, ranging from renovation of the current building, to renovation and partial construction, to complete demolition and construction. According to the Building Committee, it was determined that full demolition of the standing CCHS and construction of a brand new facility would be the most cost effective measure at $92.5 million.

The MSBA has, so far, pledged a reimbursement of 34.58 percent, or $28 million, toward the project. The figure increased from 31 percent due to a number of environmentally friendly design elements, including irrigation, organic soil, gardens and storm water control outside the building, and high efficiency heating and cooling systems and bathrooms, and columns that  will allow natural sunlight to penetrate all floors of the building. Wedge said there is an additional reimbursement point available if the Inspector General approves the building materials, which include certified wood materials and reclaimed, recyclable, bio-based and low emitting materials.

Between the two towns, Concord will pick up 73 percent of the remaining bill, and Carlisle, 27 percent. With the 34.58 reimbursement rate, Concord would be responsible for approximately $47.1 million for the project.

Selectman Gregory Howes said he would like look into some way of helping residents who may be burdened by the increase in property taxes that would result from approval of the proposed building project.

Pending the OK from MSBA later this month, the Board of Selectmen will open the Special Town Meeting warrant on Oct. 3. Town Meeting will be Nov. 7, and the Special Town Election will be held Nov. 15.

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