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Needham Hoping for Hillside, Mitchel and Pollard Improvement Funding

School Committee to submit statements of interest for Hillside, Mitchell and Pollard school projects.

 

It may take a few years, but the conversation about expanding some Needham Schools.

The Needham School Committee has completed two statements of interest (SoI), one each for the Hillside and Mitchell schools. The Committee is finishing up a third to send to the Mass. School Building Authority (MSBA) for work on the Pollard School as well. They intend to submit all three and see which projects are approved.

School Superintendent Dan Gutenkanst and School Committee Chair Heidi Black presented these SoI proposals to the Board of Selectmen at Tuesday's meeting.

The MSBA receives SoI for assistance with renovating or building school facilities from communities around the Commonwealth. The Authority then determines which projects it will fund in the coming cycle. The deadline for the SoI packets is April 10, which begins a more formal conversation with the MSBA about funding.

"We're focusing on the two elementary schools. Can only do that when we get signals from the state and approval," Black explained. 

Of the three, the town would like to complete Hillside renovations first, then Mitchell and then Pollard. 

The Hillside School was originally designed for a student body of around 260 students, and currently houses about 450. Officials expect between 500 and 520 in coming years. The story is similar for Mitchell's 400 or so students as well.

Selectman Matthew Borrelli pointed out that these projects would likely not be finished until Sept. 2018. 

Selectman Maurice Handel added, "we are talking about doing these over a long period of time. They are not going to be done over two years."

No votes were cast on the statements of interest. The Board will discuss them further at future meetings.

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