As of October 2015, the Abington School Building Committee is conforming
to the following schedule of MSBA submissions and grant approvals:
Aug 4, 2014: 3-way meeting between Building Committee, School Committee and Board of Selectmen to be held at 7pm at Town Offices, at which time each committee voted to authorize the ASBC to submit the state school construction grant application package to the Massachusetts School Building Authority
Aug 7, 2014: Deadline to file Abington's completed application package to qualify for state school construction grant financing, and to be placed on the MSBA's agenda for their September 24th meeting
Aug 8-Sept 10: Periodic conferences between Abington's professional consultants and MSBA representative to finalize and confirm MSBA-approved Scope of Project, Construction Schedule, Project Budget, and Grant Money Reimbursement Rate
Sept 24, 2014: MSBA Board of Directors Meeting, at which the Board will vote whether to offer grant funding to Abington. This vote will specify the exact percentage that the MSBA will contribute to Abington's project for all "reimbursable expenses". (ASBC estimates this percentage will be between 50-60%!)
Completed>> MSBA voted to award Abington with a state school construction grant not to exceed $50.2 million!
Saturday, Sept 27, 2014 Vote #1: Special Town Meeting
Completed>> Vote to approve new school proposal and accept state grant funding: YES 961 - NO 20 (98% YES!)
Saturday, October 18, 2014 Vote #2: Ballot Box Election
Completed>> Vote to approve new school proposal and accept state grant funding: YES 2,881 - NO 595 (83% YES!)
Since both the Town Meeting and Ballot Election voters approved Abington's school construction project by the required margins, the Town's professional consultants were thereafter authorized to prepare construction documents and public bidding packages. Following state bidding procedures, the Town began to solicit bids in September of 2015.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015: General Contract Bid Opening
Completed>> After reviewing the 70+ bid packages from the pre-qualified subcontractors, the Building Committee reviewed the final General Contract Bids from the three pre-qualified general contractors. By a unanimous vote of the Abington School Building Committee, the Committee awarded the school construction contract to Brait Builders Corp. of Marshfield, MA.
As the winning bidder, Brait Builders will be obligated to start mobilizing its resources for the commencement of site work in December 2015. A ceremonial groundbreaking event will be held on November 23, 2015. Completed!
It is estimated that it will take up to two years to complete construction of Abington's new Middle/High School Building. If all goes well and the weather cooperates, we hope to move Grades 9-12 into the new high school in January of 2018. Moving Grades 7&8 from the Frolio and Grades 5&6 from the Woodsdale into the brand new Middle School may not occur until the start of the new school year in September 2018 (this decision will be made by the School Administration and School Committee).
The existing 1963 Abington High School building will remain in operation while the new school is being constructed on the fields behind AHS (a similar construction scenario occurred in East Bridgewater, Rockland, Marshfield, etc.). The area will be fenced off and only contractors and building officials will be allowed on the work site.
As currently envisioned, the contractor will be required to construct the two adjacent synthetic turf fields (northeast corner of site) as soon as the project begins, with the intention that those fields will be available for town and student use within 6-8 months after the school construction project has commenced. Therefore, the two turf fields should be available for use by AHS students and limited youth sports in the fall of 2016.
After completion of the new school building, students will be moved from the 1963 High School, 1937 Frolio Middle School and the 1958 Woodsdale School into the new school building. As stated above, the School Administration will oversee the timing and coordination of transferring students into the new building. The existing 1963 High School will then be demolished and the front parking lots, driveways, and two grass playing fields will thereafter be constructed during the (estimated) 3rd year of the project (ie, during 2018). "Punch list" items will also be addressed by the contractor throughout the new building and the site.
We anticipate that the two grass playing fields will be roped off for the 4th year of the project (or longer if needed) in order to allow for proper root development and safe playing surfaces. These grass playing fields should be usable in 2020 or 2021 - use of the fields will continue to be scheduled and coordinated by the School Department and Recreation Commission, keeping with current policies and procedures.
After the 5th & 6th grade students have been transferred out of the Woodsdale School and the 7th & 8th grade students have been transferred out of the Frolio School into the new Middle/High School, the offices for Special Education, Food Service, Payroll, Accounts Payable, Superintendent, Business Office, and School Building Maintenance will all be moved into the Frolio School from their current locations in the former North School. This relocation of offices will allow the Frolio School building to remain occupied and in operation, allowing the community to have continued access to the Frolio gymnasium, locker rooms and parking areas. Abington High football games will continue to be played at Memorial Field (behind the Frolio School), and the AHS football teams and baseball teams will continue to use the old locker rooms in the Frolio basement during scheduled practices and games.
Since the new Middle School will provide new classroom space for Grades 5-8 (5&6 on the 1st floor; 7&8 on the 2nd floor), the overcrowding issues in the lower elementary grades will be addressed by moving Grades 3 & 4 into the Woodsdale School and using the Beaver Brook Elementary School for Grades K-2. Again, this reconfiguration of grades and schools will likely take effect in September 2018.
It is likely that the North School and Center School buildings will thereafter be declared as "surplus" by the School Committee and ownership and control of those two properties will be transferred to the Board of Selectmen. The Board of Selectmen and Town Meeting voters will thereafter be responsible to decide if the Town should keep and use those properties for other purposes, or if/when either or both properties should be sold.
The construction and occupancy of the new Middle/High School will thereafter benefit all grade levels throughout the Abington school system:
- Pre-K and Grades 5-8 and Grades 9-12 will receive their education in a safe, modern and technologically-advanced learning facility.
- Grades 3 & 4 will be educated in vastly improved learning conditions at the Woodsdale School.
- Kindergarten and Grades 1 & 2 students will benefit from the relief of existing overcrowding at the Beaver Brook Elementary School (which currently houses Grades 1-4).
- Due to the small room sizes and limited space in our three oldest school buildings (all built in 1937-39), full-day Kindergarten is presently only available to a limited number of families. However, after the new school building is constructed, the ability to assign and readjust our elementary grade levels between the Beaver Brook (K-2) and Woodsdale Schools (grades 3 & 4) will provide expanded Kindergarten classroom space at Beaver Brook and thereafter allow our town the opportunity to consider offering full-day Kindergarten to all Abington families for the first time. Best of all: if implemented at some time in the future, the cost to offer a free full-day Kindergarten program to all families would also be reimbursed to our town by the state!