NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 4, 2014

Pentucket poised to get state aid to fix school

WEST NEWBURY – The Pentucket Regional School District closed out last week with good news on Friday from the Massachusetts School Building Authority.

Superintendent Jeffrey Mulqueen was informed that the state’s school funding authority had voted to approve up to $732,493 in funding for a proposed roof and boiler replacement project at the middle school.

“The total estimated project value is approximately $1.7 million but a more definitive number will emerge after the design and bidding phase,” said Pentucket Business Manager Greg Labrecque when reached on Friday. The project includes replacing the school’s heating system and a portion of the roof that covers its auditorium.

The maximum grant amount reflects a state reimbursement rate of 50.79 percent of approved project costs. While it doesn’t include funding for owner or construction contingency costs, if the Pentucket project is deemed eligible for additional reimbursements in this regard, the grant could increase to as much as $768,108, stated John McCarthy, executive director of the MSBA in his letter Mulqueen. The final grant amount is subject to a review and audit of all project costs.

Under the terms of the MSBA’s Accelerated Repair Program, the school district now has 90 days to gain approval for the necessary appropriations from the three Pentucket communities, Groveland, Merrimac, and West Newbury. The towns must also affirm “the cost, site, type, scope, and timeline for the proposed project,” the letter states. Once these approvals are in place, a Project Funding Agreement between MSBA and the Pentucket District will be executed and requests for project reimbursement can proceed.

Labrecque has already proactively requested space holders on Special Town Meeting warrants for later this spring in the three district towns. If these requests are approved by voters, he can begin the borrowing process immediately in order to allow for completion of the project during summer recess.

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