Building committee votes to build new school

Moving forward with new building on land adjacent to current school.

There was no vote, but the Tisbury School building committee reaffirmed its commitment to a new school to replace the 1938 brick building. — Stacey Rupolo


On Monday, the Tisbury School building committee voted to build a new three-story structure and remove the existing building once it’s done.

According to the building committee web site, the decision was made on Monday to build a new school at 40 West William Street. Once that’s built, the old school will be removed.

The original Times story on the project was incorrect.

At the meeting, the vote was split with many school leaders voting for new construction and town leaders voting against the plan.

Still, the building committee is moving forward on June 29 by submitting the plan to the Massachusetts School Building Authority for review and approval.

Exact placement of the school on the site will be decided during the schematic design phase, according to the site.

This vote follows the decision on June 13 to keep the school at its current location. The project, which is projected to cost the town $33 million, is set to be submitted to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) grant program on June 29.

The new design will maintain much of the current building’s qualities, but increase the size of the structure. The total size of the new building will be about 52,000 square feet. The main part of the building will be kept along Spring Street, and will be surrounded by about 80,000 square feet of play area. The gym and cafeteria areas will be increased. and the addition is said to include new resource centers for students. Parking and drop-off areas will remain mostly in the same location.

The overall cost of the project is $48.1 million, with MSBA reimbursing nearly 42 percent of the project costs. This cost includes the feasibility study, project management, architect and engineer design costs, construction costs, and furnishings. This price has raised some concerns among town leaders, because Tisbury is currently looking into several other public projects, such as renovations to the senior center and police station, as well as improvements to wastewater and storm drainage, officials said during Monday’s meeting.

There were some suggestions for a four-story school design, with the additional floor either above or below the original structure. However, this design was rejected due to zoning laws, and the fact that it would restrict the collaborative learning goals of the school. The large basement area for classes and student usage was turned down due to its “bunker-like” qualities and limited access to daylight and natural ventilation.

With the plan approved by the building committee, it will now be submitted to the MSBA for approval of both the design and funding. This will be submitted in June, and is expected to receive approval. Once approval of funding and design from the MSBA has been received, the plan will be submitted for approval by the town. If approved, construction will begin and will be expected to finish in the summer of 2021, according to Peter Turowski, the building’s architect. However, if the town does not pass the building plan, the project will lose MSBA funding.

Story has been updated to correct the vote.