Monday night, the Duxbury School Building Committee updated selectmen about plans for the new joint middle and high school. The current design has the middle and high school students segregated with the school featuring two separate entrances. The new school will be laid out behind the existing middle school and a field house and large football field will replace the existing high school.
Last year, the Massachusetts School Building Authority invited Duxbury into their model school program to assist in project funding. Chair of the building committee Elizabeth Lewis explained why the town chose to join grades six through twelve in one building, “We found in our research with model schools and also what was done for an Ipswich project that was a combined middle and high school, that it worked very favorably and it’s a very cost effective way to be able to provide the education and still have the community use and the shared use of the building as well. And MSBA is really excited to be able to join with us in this project.”
After listening to the committee’s update to selectmen about the new school, some residents were unhappy with the direction of the project. The estimated total project budget is $128 million. The committee is expecting a reimbursement of approximately 45% from the MSBA. However after the refund, residents’ taxes will increase 11% over a 25 year term.
Bob Doyle, a 38 year Duxbury resident, feels that the town could put tax payer’s dollars to better use, “I’m talking about education, teachers, administration, people who can read a chart on the wall and direct the information to the students; this is not in the program. So I think there’s a lot to be done and the money can be a lot less than the money presented.”
Selectmen Shawn Dahlen stated that the vote will be a difficult situation for many residents.
For construction to begin next June, the new joint school must pass a double vote, once at town meeting on October 29th and then a ballot vote on November 5th.