Updated June 13, 10:40 pm
The Tisbury School building committee voted to keep the Tisbury School at its Spring Street site. In a split vote, the committee decided to remove the Manter Well site from the discussion, with eight members in favor of the removal and seven opposed.
“It’s the heart of the community,” Jeff Kristal, a committee member, said of the school’s current location on Wednesday. The Manter Well site is beyond the former Vineyard Nursing Association building on Holmes Hole Road, and has been considered by some to be too far from the town’s center.
The committee narrowed the project down to two options — either build a new three-story school at the current location, or renovate and add on to the current building, after voting unanimously to eliminate the proposal for construction of a new two-story building.
The cost for a new three-story building is estimated at $35.4 million to $38.4 million, according to a presentation made by Richard Marks, president and project director of Daedalus, the project manager, and Peter Turowski, president of Turowski2 Architecture, one of the architects of the project. The cost to renovate and add on is estimated at $35.6 million to $39.4 million.
The preferred plan will be submitted to the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s (MSBA) grant program on June 29. The committee will make a final vote on the project on June 19 at 7 pm.
Tisbury selectmen, the planning board, and the school committee voiced their support for keeping the school at its current location, while some teachers, the school advisory committee, and the school superintendent, Matt D’Andrea, spoke in favor of the Manter Well site.
“I feel that the Manter site, educationally speaking, is the better site,” Mr. D’Andrea said. He said the Manter Well site allowed for more flexibility in anticipation of growth, as well as minimized disruption and displacement of students while a new school was being built.
“I think the committee has spoken,” Mr. D’Andrea said after the vote, acknowledging the importance of the committee’s staying unified. “This is a great opportunity both for the kids and a great opportunity to have a beautiful, new school.”
In April 2015, Tisbury School was one of eight chosen from a pool of nearly 100 schools across the state to join the MSBA program, which gives financial aid and advice to towns building new schools or rebuilding old ones. The MSBA has agreed to cover 41.26 percent of the project, but not all project costs are reimbursable.
The MSBA found that the old Tisbury School, built in 1929, does not have enough space to meet the needs of the roughly 320 students it houses. The town added a gymnasium in 1938, and a library and more classroom space in the early 1990s.