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MSBA votes to invite high school into eligibility phase

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) has voted to invite the North Attleborough High School into the next phase of its repair program.

The approval took place at the MSBA’s March 2 meeting, during which several other projects were evaluated. Known as the Eligibility Phase, this part of the process will take 270 days to complete. During this time, the MSBA will work with the district to determine its financial and community readiness to enter the MSBA Capital Pipeline.

The Board has voted North Attleborough High School into the Eligibility Period,” said Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg wrote in a statement. “The MSBA will work collaboratively with local officials to ensure the best outcome for the District’s students.”

The plan for the high school would be a complete renovation to make it more environmentally-efficient and alleviate space limitations.

The next step is for the district to complete preliminary requirements pertaining to local approval and formation of a local school building committee. Upon successful completion of the Eligibility Phase requirements, the district then becomes eligible for an invitation into the Feasibility Study phase of the MSBA Capital Pipeline, subject to a vote of the Board of Directors.

In a written statement, Superintendent John Antonucci thanked the Town Council and Town Manager Michael Borg for their support of the project, as well as State Rep. Adam Scanlon and State Sens. Rebecca Rausch and Paul Feeney. He added that this project is an opportunity to make the town stronger and he is confident in its ability to have a positive impact on the community.

North Attleborough Public Schools is a source of great pride for residents, and they support our students, faculty and staff in a variety of ways,” wrote Antonucci. “We are very excited to be beginning this multi-year process, and look forward to engaging with not only our school community but the community at large as we move forward.”

Years in the making

Getting to this step in the MSBA process follows several years of the town submitting Statements of Interest (SOIs), which indicate the town’s desire to participate in the MSBA repair program to update one or more of these schools and secure funding for the work.

The most recent round of SOIs included one for the high school and one for the Amvet and Community schools. While the high school was chosen to proceed, the other two schools were not. This was the fourth time an SOI was submitted for the high school and the second time for the elementary schools. Town Council President Justin Pare—who also sits on the School Committee—said that the town has been submitting these for as long as he can remember.

I always came into these meetings and I was extremely pessimistic and thought this is never going to happen,” he said.

Scanlon (D-North Attleborough) issued a statement in which he said the town must provide for the educational needs of all students. A former member of the School Committee, Scanlon the concept of renovating the high school dates back to 2017, when the town began the process of identifying structural needs.

It has always been my dream ever since serving on the School Committee for our community to come together to execute this project, now and for our future,” wrote Scanlon.

The MSBA partners with Massachusetts communities to support the design and construction of educationally appropriate, flexible, sustainable and cost-effective public school facilities. Since its 2004 inception, the Authority has made over 1,750 site visits to more than 250 school districts as part of its due diligence process and has made over $15.6 billion in reimbursements for school construction projects.

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