CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Adams-Cheshire Regional School District is looking to expand the Hoosac Valley High School campus — and consolidate all its grades there.
The School Committee on Monday voted to apply to the Massachusetts School Building Authority in hopes of securing funds to allow the once four-school district to move to one campus.
"The idea is for a long-term view of the district and I think during our conversations last year about closing an elementary school, we felt that a single campus may ultimately be the best solution for the district," Superintendent Robert Putnam said.
Putnam said the application must contain three scenarios that could include substantially renovating the C.T. Plunkett building or the closed Cheshire Elementary School. He added they could also look at building new at Cheshire Elementary.
School Committee member Darlene Rodowicz asked if building new would be counterintuitive if the district wanted to consolidate with another district.
Putnam said he did not think it would be an issue because the district still needs an elementary school.
"Whether or not we would maintain complete independence or become part of another district we would still need a facility to house elementary students," Putnam said. "A well built, up-to-date facility would be useful to the district whether we stay independent or consolidate."
Rodowicz said she thought it was a good place to start.
"There is no cost in doing it and I think it is just time to apply," she said.
Hoosac Valley underwent a $40 million reconstruction in 2011-12 that saw the middle school grades move up the campus. The closure of Cheshire School sent Grades 4 and 5 there last fall and the early education grades to Plunkett, now known as Hoosac Valley Elementary. The decision to close Cheshire has caused some bitterness between the two towns.
Chairman Paul Butler said this would be the beginning of a lengthy process that would ultimately need both communities' approval.
"Part of this process is both member towns would have to support it," he said. "These projects can take a number of years before you even break ground so I kind of like moving forward this way."
Putnam added that the other option would to apply for the MSBA's accelerated repair program that typically helps fund smaller projects such as boilers, windows and roofs.
Putnam said although Plunkett needs a roof, he didn't think the district would be considered.
"It doesn't appear as though the projects we would be looking at would necessarily provide a great path for the district," he said.
Putnam said the district's statement of interest is due in April and any invitation into the program would occur around this time next year.
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