North Reading SSBC Plans Special Election and Town Meeting for School Building Project

Determined to save educational programs, the committee anticipates a budget shortfall as the construction documents develop.

Late in 2012, the Secondary Schools Building Committee (SSBC) learned that some line items exceeded original budget estimates for the school building project. With the construction documents for the project currently 60 percent complete, the SSBC foresees more cost overruns once the documents are 90 percent complete. Therefore, they plan to ask the town for additional funds at a Special Election and Special Town Meeting.

The created by eliminating certain building features in December has been reduced to a cushion of $155,692 due to adding $200,000 in security equipment, which had previously been deferred from the budget. Selectmen Chairman Sean Delaney concurred with Superintendent Kathleen Willis and School Committee member Gerald Venezia that no educational programs would be compromised by cutbacks. They stated that all alternatives to non-essential elements in the original plan are being considered for elimination. For example, rather than incorporating an administrative suite of offices on the building site other office space available in town would be substituted.

The construction documents are scheduled to be 90 percent complete in February and a new budget estimate should be available Feb. 25. The final Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) is expected by March 11, according to Willis. Once the SSBC has that figure, they will know how much more than the original budget of 107.7 million they will have to ask for at Special Town Meeting.

The Board of Selectmen and School Committee will meet on Jan. 28 to confirm the dates for a Special Town Meeting and Special Election. Right now, the tentative dates are March 18 for Special Town Meeting and March 23 for Special Town Election.

According to School Committee Chairman Mel Webster, the philosophy is that residents should have the opportunity to vote again. At Special Town Meeting, residents will be presented with all of the information regarding the budget. They will also be informed of what the school will be like if they vote for the override and what it will be like if they do not vote for the override and the SSBC has to work with the existing budget.

Informational meetings for the public are tentatively planned for Jan. 29, Feb. 28 and March 14. The focus of these meetings is to explain the revised costs and the impact those costs will have on residents.

"The March 14 meeting will focus on financial information associated with the final GMP. The presentation will provide details regarding the additional funds needed to complete the project as originally planned and what the tax impact would be on the average household," Willis said.

Ed Canney January 19, 2013 at 04:13 PM
Just a quick bit of cost saving advice. Concrete.poured foundations have to be kept @ 50 degrees for 5 days.(just covering won't suffice) So you may want to wait 'till Spring to pour, sans covering and supplying a heat source for 5 days. Same w/the excavation, can't be allowed to freeze.
Ed Canney January 19, 2013 at 07:27 PM
"North Reading SSBC Plans Special Election and Town Meeting..." Thought the Selectman made those decisions. Who exactly is in charge these days?
Joe Veno January 20, 2013 at 12:45 AM
MPG, Who is the Selectman that said people should move out of town?
Kris January 24, 2013 at 06:36 PM
I just read through all these comments. I find it rather surprising that no one has mentioned the destruction of the forest behind Tower Hill Road and School Hill Lane, right up to the property lines, leaving not one tree or stick between residents and the parking lot, all to save money on dirt removal, which by the way was never discussed with abutters. This is a HUGE deal going on right now, that no one seems to notice. Hmmmmmm.....
Ed Canney January 25, 2013 at 05:43 PM
I have Kris...in a post regarding the architect's performance: "Yes its always a dilemma to change a contractor or architect. But sometimes after assessing their performance, it can be the prudent path. The architect's back & forth w/ the CPC about lot clearing is really a concern. Why would he request from the CPC, tree cutting to the abutters' lots, when the abutters were told that would never happen...a buffer zone would be left. And then go ahead & do the clearing, when he only had permission to clear for the foundation footprint. With any construction project, it always best to keep the neighbors happy! An architect of all people should prioritize that policy." As to the mounds of excavated soil they supposedly were to remove, Kris. You never take away excavated soil, its kept for regrading. So that excuse is a bit tongue & cheek. Why would you remove excavated soil...and then purchase soil to grade? Never heard of it.


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