TOWNSEND — “We want to hear from you.”
Schools, parents and children are not the only stakeholders in the high school, said Robert Templeton, chairman of the school building committee. The facilities are used by Scouts, athletic groups and others.
If you are a member of the community, you are a stakeholder, he said. Over the next few months, the committee needs to hear what everyone wants from the building.
A recently completed report on the condition of the building backed up the six years of requests that the district has made to the Massachusetts School Building Authority, he said. The district has asked for help to either replace or repair the 50-year-old North Middlesex Regional High School.
The School Building Committee, formed a year ago, is looking at different possibilities for improving the high school. The present building could be torn down and replaced, it could be renovated, it could be partially renovated and added upon or other buildings in the district could be utilized, Templeton said.
A study done over the next two months will determine the committee’s preferred solution. Finances will be taken into account. It is unlikely that an expensive option like a swimming pool would be considered, he said.
“Renovations usually cost less than new buildings,” he said, but long-term costs including maintenance could impact the decision. “They look at a number of factors,” he said.
Knowing what the community wants — a stronger math program, more space for music or better athletic fields — will help shape the outcome.
“Right now, the sky’s the limit,” he said. Things will move quickly over the next couple of months.
By mid-May, the committee will have chosen three to five building options to look at more closely. Their findings will be discussed at a community forum at the high school on May 13 at 7 p.m.
A potential solution will be presented on June 3 at 7 p.m. in a community forum at the high school, when the public will learn what the committee is leaning toward, he said.
Their final recommendation will be made June 17 at a forum at the Nissitissit Middle School in Pepperell. This will be “what the solution is and how we can take into consideration all the stakeholder ideas for that building,” he said.
The MSBA will receive a copy of the building plans based on the final recommendation in December 2013. The next step will be approval at spring Town Meeting in each of the three member towns — Ashby, Pepperell and Townsend.
By the end of July 2014, the district will hear from the MSBA about the plans. “We hope they will approve it,” Templeton said.
In addition to the community forums, the public is welcome to attend the committee’s meetings, which are held every other Monday at 5 p.m. Schedules and other documents are available by following the NMRHS Building Project link at nmrsd.org.