BRISTOL - City Council unanimously approved a motion for the Board of Education to apply for a grant to renovate the former Memorial Boulevard School into a magnet school Tuesday night.
The grant would pay for construction of the Memorial Boulevard Intradistrict Arts Magnet School for grades 6 to 12.
In January, city officials took a tour of the former Memorial Boulevard School and began discussing the possibility that the state would be awarding funds to construct additional magnet schools, Susan Moreau, deputy superintendent of schools, said to the council.
This school would be an intradistrict school, which means it is in Bristol, for Bristol students, Moreau said, “However, it could be that tuition could be paid by surrounding towns for students to attend the school as well.” She added that if the grant is appropriated, it would occur in April of 2018.
“This grant will allow for the total renovation of the auditorium, as well as the entire building, and we would expect to have some agreements if we were to get this funding. This resolution says you can accept or reject it when the funds are appropriated - if they are appropriated. They would appropriate the funds at that time [April 2018], but we have to have an application in or they won’t even consider us,” Moreau said.
The grant would be through the Office of School Construction Grants of the Department of Administrative Services.
Moreau noted that when the funds are appropriated, it will be known whether the city “will want to proceed with” its “renovations and have the opportunity to do even more for the community.”
Mayor Ken Cockayne said, “This does not slow down the design work that is currently happening for phase one. That project is still moving forward, so we are kind of moving parallel. The only way things will slow down, is if the design work is done before the decision. Then we will kind of pull on the reins a little bit to see if we will get the funding, but I think the design work is going to be well passed that.”
Councilwoman Jodi Zils Gagne clarified that the city can put money into the design phase, but not into the construction, because the city would not be reimbursed for funds spent on construction.
The education board approved the same motion to apply for the grant at the Aug. 16, Board of Education meeting.
Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 860-973-5088.