Tisbury School project clears state milestone

Town voters will be next to consider school project.

A rendering of the Tisbury School project from the building committee's web site.

The Tisbury School project took a giant leap forward this week with approval by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA).

The MSBA will provide an estimated $14.8 million, or 41.25 percent, to the $41.2 million project, though final numbers on the town’s side have not been finalized, Colleen McAndrews, building committee chairwoman, wrote in an email. The final numbers will be determined based on how the contractor is selected. Earlier this week the school building committee voted to go with a bid process, rather than construction manager at risk. Construction manager at risk is a more expensive plan because it would have given the town more control over selecting a general contractor. The town will save an estimated $1.8 million by putting the project out to competitive bid, according to a press release earlier this week.

In a letter to the town, the MSBA wrote that the state’s share of the project could grow to $15.1 million if construction contingencies are eligible for reimbursement.

“…The town has 120 days after the date of all MSBA’s board vote to acquire and certify local approval for an appropriate and all other necessary local votes or approvals showing acceptance of the cost, site, type, scope, and timeline for the Tisbury School project,” the letter states.

The letter was written by John McCarthy, the agency’s executive director. “We will be contacting you soon to discuss the next steps in more detail, but in the meantime, I wanted to share with you the board’s approval of the Tisbury School project in the Town of Tisbury to replace the existing Tisbury School on the existing site,” he wrote.

In her email, McAndrews wrote that the town will vote on the project at town meeting April 10 and the project will go to town voters April 24. A Proposition 2½ debt exclusion is required to finance the town’s portion of the school project.

Last spring school officials voted to replace the town’s elementary school, though there was certainly a contingent of people in town who wanted to keep the 1929 building intact.