School Committee Talks About Economics of High School Project
Members say cost will not get cheaper, reimbursement will not get higher.
After recent meetings for the high school renovation and addition project, there has been some feedback from the public, but no one has said to go back to the drawing board.
People, the look on their faces was amazing when you told them there were no fire sprinklers in the high school. Their jaw just dropped and they said ‘you’re kidding me.’ They weren’t required when it was built. We haven’t been required to retrofit them so this is the time to do it,” School and Building Committee Tom Golota said.
He also noted that the plans will make for a safer entrance into the high school. The way it is set up now, people in the main office cannot see who is at the door when they buzz them in. And even after people are buzzed in, they can move around the corner without being seen. This will be addressed in the design.
“If we just refurbish the existing building, we’re putting lipstick on a pig,” Golota said. “We’re making it look nice, but we are not really adding to the educational experience of the kids. So the state will only give us probably 28 percent, versus 60 percent.”
“This is something that needs to get done,” said School Committee member Deniz Savas. “It’s not going to get cheaper, the reimbursement is not going to get higher."
Norton resident Robert Keating attended the School Committee meeting Monday to follow up on the project meeting Thursday, March 3.
“I know you guys are going to have a hard sell in a recession,” he said, suggesting a gap analysis stating the return on investment and what it will cost a few years down the road. “I think you can still sell it though. I think people do want a better building.”
Golota noted that residents are already paying a sales tax, so they might as well use it.
“We are already paying into this. Every one of us in this room is paying into this every time we buy something with a sales tax,” he said. “We can just let that money go to Easton, Mansfield, wherever, or we can start getting some of our own money back and help us pay for the school.”
“Someone’s going to take our $18 million. I’d rather it be Norton,” Savas added.