Elementary School Building Committee Update
Published on Feb 16, 2017 10:41

Elementary School Building Committee Update

After a lengthy review of options for renovating and adding on to the existing Clyde Brown School as well as new school options and after community input on both the location and scope of the project, the Millis Elementary School Building Committee (ESBC) submitted its decision to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) for approval.


In September 2016, the MSBA approved the Town of Millis’ preferred option to replace the existing CFB. For the past several months the ESBC and the School Department, with the assistance of the architect and project manager, developed the schematic design which is roughly 25% of the whole design process.  In March, the ESBC will submit this proposed design, along with the, budget, requested maximum reimbursement and schedule for the proposed project to the MSBA. The MSBA Board of Directors will vote at their May 10, 2017 meeting to formally approve the project’s scope and a funding agreement.  


Project Budget

At its February 15, 2017 meeting the ESBC reviewed the estimated project budget that had been developed by the architect’s project estimator and reviewed by the Town’s project estimator (retained through Compass Project Management, our project manager consultant). The budget includes estimated construction costs and “soft costs” (design costs, administration costs, furniture and equipment and project contingencies.)  This budget will be submitted to the MSBA for approval at their May 10, 2017 meeting. 

  •  The total cost of the project is estimated at: $51.8 million
  •  Reimbursement from the MSBA is based on their determination of eligible costs. Although the MSBA approved a base reimbursement rate of 52.89% for this project, and the project may qualify for certain incentive reimbursement points, the MSBA does not reimburse certain costs on all MSBA projects.  The estimated reimbursement from the MSBA may range from $21 - $21.6 million.  A final number will be provided prior to Town Meeting Funding Vote. 
  •  Estimated net cost to the town: is a range of $30.3 – $31 million.  Since the MSBA reimburses on a monthly basis as the project moves along, the Town will only need to borrow its share.


We should note to taxpayers and voters that although the Town will only need to borrow the Town share, the MSBA requires that we appropriate the full amount of the project cost. Therefore, while the tax impact is based on the Town share, the warrant article will require an appropriation of the total project cost currently estimated at $51.8 million.


Funding for this project will require Millis to vote for a debt exclusion which will be amortized over 30 years.  Property taxes for this project will increase for this time period. Once repaid, the temporary tax increase will be revoked. 


The estimated annual cost for a Millis resident will be provided at the May Town Meeting, although exact figures will not be known until the time of bond issuance, the annual cost to an average family home valued at $357,000 will be in the range of $550 to $650 annually.


Community Outreach

The ESBC plans to hold at least three community forums prior to the May election and May Town Meeting in order to inform our fellow citizens of the details of the project. Residents are encouraged to attend and learn more about the project and to ask questions.


Forum dates:

  •  Thursday, March 2, 2017, 7:00 PM – Town Hall room 229 (to be televised)
  •  Saturday, March 18, 2017, 10:00 AM – Millis Public Library, Roche Brothers Community Room
  •  Thursday, April 13, 2017, 7:00 PM – Town Hall room 229 (to be televised)

 Informational Updates to Town Boards and Committees:

In addition to the community-wide forums, members of the ESBC will be presenting all available information to various boards and committees and intends to address board specific questions.

  •  School Committee - 3/7/17, 7:30 PM
  •  Board of Selectmen - 3/13/17, 7:00 PM
  •  Finance Committee - 3/15/17, 7:30 PM

 Citizens are encouraged to attend these informational meetings as well.


Election and Town Meeting Votes

To secure funding from the MSBA voters must approve the full project appropriation of funds for the project via a debt exclusion ballot by a simple majority at the Spring Town Election to be held on Monday, May 1, 2017, and then at the Spring Town Meeting on May 8, 2017 where a two-thirds majority vote will be required.


The ESBC’s responsibility is to work with Millis residents to achieve the best solution for both students and taxpayers for the aging Clyde Brown School.   The ESBC is committed to an inclusive process that seeks to ensure that the school district’s educational objectives are met and that much needed building system and infrastructure inadequacies are addressed in the most fiscally responsible manner. 


More information:  www.millisschoolproject.org     

Questions? Please email:  schoolproject@millis.net 


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