$55M for arts school: Magnet school closer to state funding

Published on Wednesday, 24 January 2018 21:13
Written by Lorenzo Burgio


BRISTOL - The Board of Finance appropriate and bonded about $54.8 million for the design of the upgrade and renovation of the Memorial Boulevard School as an intradistrict arts magnet school Tuesday night.

They also voted to make the $13.2 million it appropriated and bonded on July 25, 2017, for phase one of the Memorial Boulevard theater project, part of the $54 million appropriation. It also recommended the matters to the joint board of the City Council and finance board.

The Board or Education filed an application for state funding for the Memorial Boulevard Intradistrict Arts Magnet School project in November, explained Sue Moreau, superintendent of Bristol schools.

The appropriation of $54.8 million is the total cost of the magnet school project, which includes renovating the auditorium at Memorial Boulevard School into a theater, Moreau explained. Having a resolution for that appropriation is the last item needed for that application, she said.

The $54.8 million appropriation will cover construction, renovation and expansion of the entire building, converting the auditorium into a theater, hazardous material work and installing high-performance mechanical building systems, explained Tim Callahan, facilities manager for Bristol schools.

The anticipated reimbursement rate from the state for the project is 68.93 percent of the total cost, however, the school board reduced that anticipated reimbursement by five percent to have a conservative estimate, Callahan said.

The city is expected to spend around “$6.5 million to get the entire building brand new” in addition to the $13.2 million that was previously appropriated, with that anticipated, conservative reimbursement rate, Callahan said.

If the school board does not receive the state funding, the $13.2 million will have to remain bonded, said John Smith, vice chair of the finance board.

Though, the school board plans to continue to pursue funding in the future if the state funding does not come forward, Moreau noted.

The school board hopes to hear back about the state funding in February, but it could take a little longer, Moreau said. The magnet school would not open until 2020-21 or 2021-22 and be for grades six through 12, she added.

Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at 860-801-5088 or by email at lburgio@centralctcommunications.com

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Wednesday, 24 January 2018 21:13. Updated: Wednesday, 24 January 2018 21:15.