Milton School District presents cost estimates for new high school
MILTON—Milton School District officials presented floor plans and cost estimates for a new high school Monday, a tangible step toward a possible new referendum.
The presentation did not give a specific referendum proposal and did not set a date for a future election. It was intended to show the school board what administrators have worked on with architectural and construction firms, District Administrator Tim Schigur said.
Plunkett Raysich Architects and construction firm J.P. Cullen determined a new high school would cost roughly $83.9 million.
That estimate does not include potential work at other district facilities, according to information provided by the district.
After the November failure of an $87 million proposal for a new high school and other upgrades, the district held a listening session to hear public concerns. It also got guidance from the school board to examine different facility options and cost estimates.
Two primary options were to construct a new high school or to expand the existing building.
Cost estimates provided by Plunkett Raysich and J.P. Cullen showed that additions to existing buildings would cost $86.8 million—more than a new facility.
Additions would cost more because the existing high school uses space inefficiently, and expanding it would add to those deficiencies, said Scott Kramer of Plunkett Raysich.
Board President Bob Cullen expressed disappointment with the new cost estimate, but he said the “numbers are what they are,” and the district's space needs remain.
“The longer we wait, the higher the costs go to meet the same needs that we identified through the process of last November's referendum,” Cullen said. “I think the needs are much the same. They haven't went away.”
Under the plans presented Monday, the new high school would be located on High Street, just west of the existing building. The High Street entrance would open onto the second floor, while a parking lot entrance north of the building would open onto the first floor.
The first floor would feature a commons area, which would serve as a cafeteria and gathering space alongside a pool, four-station gym and other athletic facilities. Engineering labs would also be located on the first floor.
The labs would connect to additional labs above, and most general classrooms would be located on the second floor. An open area would look down on the cafeteria.
Schigur also presented concrete plans for how the middle school would be used if a new high school were constructed. Middle school classes would move to the existing high school, freeing up space for other district uses.
District officials believe that space should be used as a permanent home for MECAS, the alternative high school, which currently holds classes in the district office building.
The middle school also would become a home for the Milton Area Youth Center, alternative education and some pre-kindergarten space, Schigur said.
Cullen said board members need to review the presentation and develop questions before the next board meeting May 22.
The board then could recommend the next step for administrators as the district continues its collaboration with Plunkett Raysich and J.P. Cullen.