MSBA To Vote on High School Project By Month’s End

By Adam Swift

The Massachusetts School Building Authority Board is expected to vote on the grant approval of the new Revere High School building at Wonderland at its April 24 meeting.

If the project is approved by the MSBA, it would then come back to the city council for several votes in May, including a potential May 20 vote on the debt authorization for the new four-story high school, which is expected to have a $522 million price tag.

At Monday night’s council meeting, project manager Brian Dakin of Leftfield gave an update on the MSBA process, and said there is the potential that the state grant could be slightly higher than initially estimated. After accounting for the MSBA grants, the total cost of building on the Wonderland site to the city had been estimated at  about $285.5 million, according to the project team.

“We have submitted the schematic design package and we have submitted the vote language,” said Dakin.

The package was submitted on Feb. 29, and for the past several weeks, Dakin said the project team has been fielding questions from the MSBA about the project.

The project team, including the mayor, the superintendent of schools, and other school and city leaders, recently attended an MSBA facilities assessment subcommittee meeting, which Dakin said went well.

“We heard nothing but praise on the project and on the proposal at that meeting,” said Dakin.

All of those meetings and questions are leading to the April 24 MSBA Board vote, he said.

“I have extremely high hopes that they will pass the project and issue a board action letter and the project scope and budget agreement within a week of that meeting,” said Dakin. “That is when all the numbers become finalized. I’m confident that we are going to be at least as good as the numbers we have presented to you, and probably better, but until the MSBA Board makes the motion and confirms the final grant amount, that is a ball in their court.”

Once the project scope and budget is approved, the council is slated to meet on May 6 to approve that offer.

The debt authorization vote by the council for the project would then take place on May 20.

“That sends us off and running on the MSBA side,” said Dakin.

In concert with the MSBA efforts, Dakin said the project team is also currently moving forward with state and local permitting efforts for the project.

Council president Anthony Cogliandro said he was glad to see the permitting process restarting at the conservation commission level, and asked if it was anticipated there would be any issues or potential design changes related to wetlands issues at the former dog track.

“I think we will get through that process without any major changes,” said Dakin. “What I mean by major changes is we might have to tweak areas a little bit here, slide a road or a drive, but I don’t envision us having to lose any site program, any of the actual fields and parking as a result of this.”

Cogliandro also noted that there will likely be additional presentations on the financing of the project in May, as well as a potential executive session meeting on the ongoing litigation over the eminent domain taking of the Wonderland property by the city.

“We have to be sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that the city can handle this,” Cogliandro said of the financing.

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