AMESBURY — The city will see a new Amesbury Elementary School built on Lions Mouth Road after voters approved a $60.5 million debt exclusion to pay for it Tuesday.

The three-story building will stand next to Cashman Elementary School and both buildings would create a single campus environment with prekindergarten through second-grade students attending the new school and third- through fifth-graders going to Cashman.

“I am beyond thrilled,” School Committee member Peter Hoyt said. “I am happy for the children of Amesbury. I am happy for the staff and faculty in our incredible school district and I am happy for this community. This bodes so well for Amesbury’s future.”

The Massachusetts School Building Authority has pledged to pay roughly $24.3 million toward the construction project and the city will kick in an estimated $36.2 million.

The debt exclusion is estimated to cost the average homeowner with a property valued at $400,000 an additional $370 in property taxes, annually.

Voters approved the project 1,354 to 1,235. 

Mary Testa is chairman of the Yes to AES municipal ballot committee that advocated for building the new school.

“I am very proud of our community that voted today and came together for the new AES,” Testa said. “I believe this is a positive direction that we need to go. There is more that needs to be done for our schools and I will continue to advocate for their needs.”

The project has been in the planning stages since early 2015 and the building has been designed by Boston-based architectural firm DiNisco Design.

“I am thrilled at the turnout and I am thrilled at the results,” Mayor Ken Gray said.

“It has been four years of hard work by a lot of people in town. The great news is that the citizens agree this is the best thing for our community.”

New Hampshire-based NV5 Global Inc. is the owner’s project manager and construction could start as soon as August with a projected opening at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year.

“This is the right thing and I am so proud of the community of Amesbury for answering the call,” Hoyt said. “This was not an easy decision for any one of us to make, but it was the right decision. In Amesbury, we are unconditionally committed to every child and this evening demonstrates that commitment.”

The election saw a 21.16% voter turnout with 2,592 votes cast, according to City Clerk Christine Dixon.

Gray told The Daily News in July that the city needed to approve financing within 120 days of the MSBA’s final approval of the project (which took place on Aug. 28) if it is to make its projected completion date.

Gray also said he wanted to hold the special election before the Nov. 5 municipal election “in case something goes wrong.”

Dixon also said in June that the Sept. 17 preliminary municipal election might have affected only one of the city’s six districts and the debt exclusion was better suited for a separate, special election.

Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.

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