Fall River, MA – The Fall River School Department will host an open meeting on Wednesday, February 28, at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium. This will be the last public meeting on the project before the special election on Tuesday, March 6. Voters will be asked to approve the debt exclusion proposed to pay for part of the city’s 32.5 percent share of the cost of replacing the high school.
Members of the public are invited to take a tour of the building as well as to view renderings of the proposed project and ask questions about safety, the funding mechanism, layout and design, and how the work of the appointed School Building Committee has led to this proposal. The meeting takes place in the High School Auditorium.
In a brief presentation, architects Ai3 and project manager Leftfield will outline the cost-conscious design approaches taken and the project timeline. Also on the agenda are local considerations and ample opportunity to ask questions and collect information voters need to make an informed decision on March 6.
Ample opportunity for questions will be available. From 5:30-6:30 p.m. and again at 7:30-8 p.m., attendees are invited to take a tour of the current building.
The Massachusetts School Building Authority has offered the city of Fall River $165 million, 62.5 percent of the total cost to build a new facility on the current Elsbree Street campus. The city’s share is $98.5 $98.5 million, 32.5 percent of the total cost of the $263.5 million high school project. The city administration will take $40 million out of the tax levy and is asking taxpayers to approve a debt exclusion of $58.5 million to complete the share. City administration estimates this debt exclusion will add $115/year to the average residential tax bill in Fall River.
The path to a new Durfee High School began when a request for funds to renovate the property was denied by the MSBA. The School Building Committee, appointed by the mayor, has worked for more than a year to create a proposal for one of the biggest high schools in the state but whose construction costs are the second lowest per square foot of the 13 schools approved this year by the MSBA.