Hingham: Town takes on new middle school and possible fields project

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Thursday night, the Hingham Advisory Board met with the school building committee to exchange information about the progress of the new middle school project.

In order to receive necessary funding, the committee is working with the Massachusetts School Building Authority who helps design successful and efficient schools. Chair of the committee Raymond Estes explained to the board how a design for the school has been chosen and will be submitted to the MSBA.

Chair Estes is confident that the committee’s efforts will pay off in the form of a maximum reimbursement, “I fully expect to get the maximum reimbursement. Certainly our base at 35.42%, additional 5% for the model school program, two points for lead silver certification, and two points for maintenance plan…getting us to a maximum of 44.42%.”

Once a reimbursement percentage is defined by the MSBA in September, the project cost will then be presented during a special town meeting in the fall. Chair Estes stated that the middle school is “on time and under budget” with construction set to begin in the spring of 2012.

The school committee also presented a $1 million repair proposal to the advisory board regarding damaged athletic fields and tennis courts at the high school. The committee stated that students cannot currently play on the courts or use the track due to cracks and unlevel ground.

Caryl Falvey, a member of the school committee, explained how the problem first arose in 2005 but has been pushed to the side for the past six years, “We put those plans off because of other capital needs that came before us including a new elementary school. As a result, there’s been disrepair to the track and tennis courts and our fields still need to get the drainage fixed.”

There were mixed reviews by board members regarding the severity of the issue and timeliness of the proposal. However, the advisory board must first approve a $270,000 feasibility study, which will explore all options and cost estimates for the project. The board has not made a decision about how to continue.

About Trisha McNeilly

With a Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies from the University of Massachusetts-Boston under her belt, Trisha McNeilly joins us full-time as a general assignment and breaking news reporter having previously interned for WBZ-1030 AM in Boston. A South Shore resident her whole life, McNeilly grew up in Pembroke and is 22-years old.