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AYER/SHIRLEY — The Ayer-Shirley Regional School District Building Committee has completed its review of the high-school building project’s schematic design, including cost projections.

Proceeding by the book, the committee then authorized the owner’s project manager to submit the design to the Massachusetts School Building Authority, which has agreed to reimburse the district for more than half of covered costs.

The wrap-up officially ended the feasibility study.

Ending months of local speculation about costs, the proposed high-school building project now has an estimated price tag, contingent on MSBA approval.

According to an Aug. 9 Building Committee press release, the total budget the committee approved for the project was $56,718,141. With an anticipated MSBA reimbursement of $36,833,743 (70 percent of covered costs), the estimated district debt would be $19,884,398.

If the project is approved by district-wide vote and subsequent debt exclusions pass in Ayer and Shirley, that debt will be assessed to the two member towns based on a percentage-split formula in the regional agreement.


As for athletic stadium additions, the selectmen asked about during a project presentation at their last session, those are peripheral perks that would add another $2.2 million to the project budget and would be shouldered entirely by the district.

Symmes Maini & McKee Associates architect Alex Pritkin told selectmen those extras were not rolled into project costs but would be itemized on the ballot for voters to consider separately.

Called “alternates” in the press release, those items were bleachers, stadium lights and a combined concession and restroom facility.

None of these items are MSBA-reimbursable and the Building Committee didn’t include them in the project proposal. But the proposal does include a storage building for outdoor equipment, and replacment of an existing building that will be lost when part of the current school building is demolished to make way for a new addition.

Next steps

The press release also stated what comes next. Over the next few weeks, as MBSA staff reviews the Building Committee’s project proposal and budget, some changes may be required, with final word expected by Oct. 3.

Once approved by MSBA, the School Committee has 120 days to take the proposal to the voters, with a November time frame targeted for district-wide and debt-exclusion elections.

If voters say yes, construction will likely start next spring, with completion in the summer of 2015.

Who’s who

Concluding the Building Committee’s meeting, Chairman Murray Clark expressed appreciation to the contracted professionals who participated in the feasibility study, which is now over, including Owner’s Project Manager Trip Elmore of Dore & Whittier Management Partners; the design team from Symmes Maini & McKee Associates, the architects; and Consigli Construction Company, which was recently hired as construction manager for the project.

For information, contact Murray Clark at 978-772-2768 or Carl Mock, ASRSD superintendent, at 978-772-8600, ext. 1307.