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School Committee Hears Final High School Project Presentation

Following last night's meeting of the Concord Carlisle Regional School Committee, the fate of the CCHS building project is now in the hands of the voters.

The Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee and administrators saw a run through of the presentation district personnel will give at the Finance Committee's public hearing tomorrow and the

Committee Chairman Peter Fischelis, along with Building Committee members Michelle Paradise Ernst and Jerry Wedge discussed the process the district has gone through in order to come up with the current high school building proposal that is now before the town, and various aspects of the plan.

In Fischelis' opening remarks, he said the problems at the Concord-Carlisle Regional High School are "numerous and significant," and that the proposal before the town is an opportunity to remedy those problems with a large contribution from the state.

In addition to failing HVAC and heating systems, and an overtaxed electrical system, Fischelis said the district is currently spending up to half a million dollars a year for out of district resources for students that CCHS cannot support as it stands today.

"We have been in 'warning status' for a number of years," from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Fischelis said.

Lacking appropriate space for special education, sciences, and the Guidance Department, Fischelis said the school is in danger of being moved to "probation status" if the issues in the school are not addressed.

The proposal before the two towns in November, Fischelis said, represents the culmination of more than 10 years of research, with feasibility studies conducted in 1999, 2002 and 2005.

Ernst discussed the design process, touching on 10 different options ranging from repairs only to the full rebuild. The decision as to which was the most fiscally prudent and least disruptive to students was made by district officials and the Massachusetts School Building Authority. In July, Ernst said, MSBA rejected the repair option and chose to support the single-phase construction project that is now before Concord and Carlisle.

Earlier this fall, the for the $92.5 million project, reducing the price tag to be shared between the two towns to $64.5 million. If approved Concord will be responsible for $47.1 million, and Carlisle for $17.4 million.

According to Wedge, the tax implication of the project would peak between fiscal years 2016-2022, reaching an estimated $393 a year for a median income household in Concord. In Carlisle, the peak years would be the same, though reaching as high as $612 a year for a median income home in that town.

There is a public hearing to discuss the warrant articles for the Nov. 7 Special Town Meeting, including the CCHS building project, scheduled for tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the Town House.

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