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Belmont High Renovation Project Past Over by State … Again

Despite a decade of rejections, School Committee will resubmit statement of interest in $90 million plus project this April.

Belmont has a boat load of capital project waiting to move forward. But for at least this year, Belmont High School will not be one of them as the state agency which helps fund school building projects has passed over – once again – the renovation (and a bit of new construction) of the 43-year-old structure.

Belmont School Superintendent Dr. Thomas Kingston relayed the news of the rejection of the Belmont School Committee's statement of interest for a complete renovation of the current building opened in 1970 as well as the construction of a new science wing by the Massachusetts School Building Authority during a joint meeting of the Belmont Board of Selectmen and the Belmont School Committee on Monday, Dec. 16.

"This is one major capital project that we will not be undertaking in the coming fiscal year," said Kingston at the meeting to discuss the coming budget process. The word from the state, according to Gerald Boyle, the town's director of facilities, was that other structures "are worse" than Belmont High among the applicants. 

"Is that possible?" said Mark Paolillo, Selectmen chair.

But undeterred by the latest dismissal, Belmont will soon be before the agency with an application in hand. 

"We will be resubmitting a statement of interest again in April," Kingston told Belmont Patch after the meeting. 

"And now we have the process down so we will be doing some tweaking to the statement" before submitting the application once again, said School Committee Chair Laurie Graham. 

This rejection marks a decade of rejections by the state of Belmont's request to assist in the funding to recondition and modernize the facility which is structurally solid but whose interior is increasingly outdated and inefficient for 21st-century learning.

During this time, the MSBA passed over the high school to assist in the construction of the new Wellington Elementary School on Orchard and School streets. 

The cost estimates of the renovations and the new science wing is expected to reach upwards of $90 million of which the MSBA will finance roughly a third, about $30 million, with the town seeking a debt exclusion for the remainder. 

Kingston said the agency's action was not a surprise with so many communities seeking to build outmoded and threadbare structures.

"But with each year it is going to be increasingly, I think, a good possibility they will approve it," said Kingston.
Waverly Watchdog December 17, 2013 at 11:13 AM
The High School decision is REALLY GOOD NEWS. Several years ago, I predicted 'Build it and they will come' - and that has been proven to be true by the 'overcrowding' in Wellington. - If Belomt is stupid enough to put out free stuff, there are ALWAYS takers. And it IS 'free stuff'. EVERY child that comes into Belmont schools is being subsidized by Other People, unless the assessed value of their property is OVER roughly $2,000,000. Building a new high school is a guaranteed to produce an even greater influx of new costs.

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