Elementary School Building Committee Update
Published on Oct 27, 2016 12:23

Millis Resident:


The Elementary School Building Committee (ESBC) would like to update you on recent activity and next steps.



  • Millis’ preferred option to replace the existing Clyde F. Brown Elementary School has been approved by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA).
  • Within the purview of the Feasibility Study approved by town voters at the May 2015 Town Meeting, the ESBC will now proceed with schematic design for this option.
  • Over the coming months, the ESBC, project architects and managers will seek input through meetings with town and school administrators and staff, and from the community through a series of open forums.
  • Through a Town Meeting vote, an Article 97 land transfer vote is required to redesignate land as either park or school controlled property - this is a requirement for the schools to proceed with the preferred option.  A 2/3 majority vote at Town Meeting is required.  THIS VOTE WILL TAKE PLACE AT ON MONDAY, NOVEMBER 7TH AT 7:30PM IN THE MILLIS MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM.


    Other upcoming Meetings:

  • A presentation on the Article 97 land transfer/home-rule petition will be the first order of business at the Millis School Committee meeting on Tuesday, November 1 at 7:30 PM.
  • The same presentation will be made at the Pre-Town Meeting of the Finance Committee on Wednesday, November 2 at 7:30 PM.


The ESBC looks forward to working cooperatively with Millis residents on this great opportunity. The committee values community feedback as we work to upgrade our elementary school facility, while ensuring that our educational objectives are met and that much needed building system and infrastructure issues are addressed.


Please see below for more detail on project status and the land swap vote requirement.

More information is also available at www.millisschoolproject.org.


For questions on the project please email schoolproject@millis.net.  


Project Status

At the September 28th meeting of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) Board of Directors, the Board voted to approve the Town of Millis’ preferred option to replace the existing Clyde F. Brown Elementary School. With this vote the Elementary School Building Committee (ESBC) will now proceed into the Schematic Design phase of the Feasibility Study.  At the end of the Schematic Design phase, the ESBC will submit a robust design of sufficient detail (25% of the design) to establish the scope, budget, maximum reimbursement and schedule for the proposed project. Schematic design submission and approval is targeted for Spring 2017. 


The ESBC, architects, and project managers have begun to schedule a series of meetings with town officials, town boards and committees, and school administrators and teachers to seek their input as the Schematic Design phase begins.  Once the first set of meetings have taken place the architects will incorporate the feedback received and produce the first draft of the project design.  The ESBC, architects, and project managers will then reconvene a series of meetings to review the design with the various officials and educators to ensure that their feedback was incorporated.


In addition to meetings with town officials, town boards and school faculty, the ESBC will hold community forums in the first quarter of 2017 to provide residents with the opportunity to learn more about the project and to ask any questions they may have. 


The ESBC is committed to an inclusive process that seeks participation from various subject matter experts to produce the most fiscally responsible option that meets the educational programing needs of the Millis Public Schools. 


Town Meeting Vote

The site of the proposed new school is currently designated as “park” land.  Under the MSBA guidelines, in order to build the new school the land must be under control of the Millis Public Schools.  Because the land is protected under Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution which preserves land for conservation and recreation purposes, the Massachusetts Legislature needs to approve the land being designated for school purposes. As part of that process, the Town must propose alternative land of a like equivalence, not currently restricted, to place under Article 97 protection (“swap parcels”).  In addition, at a minimum, the acreage of the swap land must be a 1 to 1 swap, if not greater.  The proposed swap is approximately 1.5 to 1.


The process of transferring control of the land started at the May 2016 Town Meeting when residents voted overwhelming to give permission for the ESBC to initiate the process of shifting control of land parcels designated as both “town” land and “park” land to “school” control.  The ESBC, School Committee, and the Board of Selectman have identified parcels presently under their control as “swap parcels.”  Both the School Committee and the Board of Selectman took votes in September to swap control of currently town controlled parcels to school control and vice versa, from school controlled to town controlled. 


To complete the process an additional vote is required at the November 7th Fall Town Meeting.  A 2/3 majority vote is required to authorize the Town to transfer control of the swap parcels and to submit the home-rule petition to the Massachusetts Legislature for action in the next session, which begins in early January 2017.

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