ADAMS, Mass. — The Adams-Cheshire Regional School District has backed out of the MSBA's 2018 cycle.
After a conference call with the Massachusetts School Building Authority on Tuesday, during which representatives from both towns were present, the district agreed to withdraw its consideration for an elementary school project.
"Our next step is to further understand exactly what our needs are and go from there," Superintendent John Vosburgh said Wednesday morning.
Earlier this year, the district submitted a Statement of Interest to the MSBA – as it does every year. Surprisingly, the district was one of 28 selected by the state to undergo a senior study and on Oct. 17 representatives from the MSBA toured Hoosac Valley Elementary School with local officials.
Cheshire Selectman Robert Ciskowski went on this initial tour and said at the Selectmen's meeting last week that the MSBA would want an answer in the coming weeks. He said he felt blindsided by how fast the project was moving.
Also, he was set back by the condition of the school and cited multiple roof leaks, temperature irregularities, and plumbing issues among others.
Although a feasibility study would have to look at multiple options that would certainly include a renovation at Hoosac Valley Elementary School and a new build up at the Hoosac Valley High School campus, the Cheshire Selectmen made clear that they were uninterested in funding repairs at Hoosac Valley Elementary caused by deferred maintenance on Adams' part.
Cheshire Selectwoman Carol Francesconi attended the conference call and said at Tuesday Selectmen's meeting that she made known the town's concerns.
"I just expressed our concerns and that this was proceeding quicker than we anticipated," she said. "And the fact that we were told in the past that repairs would be made before it became a district school and that hadn't happened."
Francesconi added that the Adams Selectmen said $250,000 had been budgeted to fund a third-party evaluation of the school to report what is wrong with the building and what it would cost to fix it.
"After the review, we both agreed we would have a better idea of what would be involved, and I think we both agreed that we are not ready for an MSBA loan," she said.
Francesconi said they plan to reapply next year and attempt to get in the 2020 MSBA cycle.
Vosburgh said at the School Committee meeting Monday that he thought the tour was very comprehensive but did note that he did not think the district would be accepted in this cycle.
He added that either way, the state has seen the condition of the building.
"They looked at everything and I think they came away with a really good sense of where we are at," he said. "They saw that there was certainly a need here."
Vosburgh also said Wednesday after the verdict was reached that once the district has more information officials will figure how best to go forward — this may include pursuing the accelerated repair program that instead of a total renovation focuses on smaller repairs (roofs, boilers, windows, etc.)
"Once this information is in our hands we can then determine the course of action deciding between applying for the Core Program again, the Accelerated Repair Program, or simply funding with local dollars to make the repairs needed," he said.
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