Monomoy Regional School District - Frequently Asked Questions
Information & Frequently Asked Questions
Monomoy Regional School District
August 14, 2012
*Also see the Frequently Asked Questions below that were posted on August 1, 2012.
We are providing the following information in response to the several inquiries that we have received in connection with the proposed new Monomoy Regional High School project.
Frequently Asked Questions
August 1, 2012
The Monomoy Regional School District is a newly formed Regional School District serving grades PK-12 in the Towns of Chatham and Harwich. The new Regional School District was approved by the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education on December 29, 2010, and the Monomoy Regional School District Agreement was executed on January 19, 2011. On November 17, 2009, the Massachusetts School Building Authority (“MSBA”) invited the District into the Capital Pipeline, and since that time, the District has been working collaboratively with the MSBA to determine the best solution for the District.
Where is the Monomoy High School building project in the MSBA grant process?
On July 25, 2012, the MSBA’s Board of Directors authorized the Executive Director to enter into a Project Scope and Budget Agreement and a Project Funding Agreement (see Funding the Project) with the Monomoy Regional School District to replace the existing Harwich High School facility with a new Monomoy Regional High School on the existing site, as part of the MSBA’s Model School Program.
The Board approved a maximum grant amount of $29,696,270, based on the District’s reimbursement rate of 51.53% of eligible, approved costs.
Based upon the Board’s approval, the District and the MSBA will enter into a Project Scope and Budget Agreement that defines the project scope, budget, schedule, and MSBA participation in the project. Once the District secures community authorization and financial support, the MSBA and the District will enter into a Project Funding Agreement, which also defines the scope, budget, and schedule for the project and sets forth the terms and conditions pursuant to which the District will receive its grant from the MSBA. After the Project Funding Agreement has been executed, the District and its Designer and Owner’s Project Manager will continue to advance toward design development, construction documentation, and bidding. The project team and the MSBA continue to monitor the project to ensure it remains on track and meets the expectations of both the District and the MSBA as defined in the Project Funding Agreement. Additionally, the MSBA will assign a Commissioning Agent to the project, who will facilitate an intensive quality assurance process and ensure that the new building operates efficiently and as the owner intended.
What will the funds appropriated at Town Meeting be used for?
The funds appropriated at Town Meeting will cover the costs of the project’s total budget, which includes costs associated with advancing the project through design development, construction documents, construction, and project closeout.
What happens if the Town Meeting vote fails and the District fails to appropriate funding for this project?
Please refer to the MSBA’s Policy Statement regarding the impact on MSBA funding if a City, Town or Regional School District fails to vote to appropriate funding for the proposed project.
The Policy Statement provides, in part: Pursuant to the MSBA’s regulations, a city, town or regional school district that has been approved by the Board for a proposed project has 120 days from the date of the Board’s approval to obtain and certify local approval of an appropriation to fully fund the proposed project and all other local votes or approvals showing acceptance of the cost, site, type, scope and timeline for the proposed project.
The MSBA appreciates the challenges that school districts face, but the MSBA’s regulations specifically include this 120-day deadline for a local appropriation to ensure that the MSBA’s capital program funds are targeted toward projects and school districts that are ready and able to make the financial commitment and move forward in a timely manner. Given the overwhelming capital needs of school districts across the Commonwealth and the MSBA’s limited capital program funds, the MSBA cannot indefinitely tie up funds allocated for a project that lacks local support.
In the event that a school district fails to approve funding for a proposed project within the 120-day deadline, by no later than 10 business days following the failed vote, the school district must submit to the MSBA a plan that: (1) presents the vote results, (2) explains the school district’s understanding of the reason(s) for the failed vote, and (3) sets forth the school district’s plan to remedy the failed vote and a suggested timeline for such a remedy. The MSBA will review the plan and determine whether it can continue to set aside MSBA funds for the proposed project. However, a failed local vote likely will result in the school district being required to submit a new Statement of Interest to the MSBA and await a second invitation from the MSBA to enter the feasibility study phase of the MSBA’s process.
Would the MSBA participate in funding an addition/renovation project in lieu of a new high school for Monomoy?
The MSBA invited the District into the MSBA’s Model School Program following a comprehensive review and evaluation of possible solutions for the replacement of the Harwich High School. The MSBA determined that the Model School would be the most cost-effective and educationally-appropriate solution.
The MSBA’s Model School Program
The Model School Program seeks to effectively adapt and re-use the design of successful, recently constructed elementary, middle and high schools. Model Schools are efficient in design and easy to maintain, contain optimal classroom and science lab space, can easily accommodate higher or lower enrollments, incorporate sustainable, “green” design elements when possible and are flexible in educational programming spaces while encouraging community use.
Districts participating in the Model School Program are eligible to receive five additional percentage points, which are added to the base rate of MSBA reimbursement. In the current economy, the savings and higher reimbursements can mean the difference between a school district being able to afford a new facility and being forced to continue using a deficient one.
Why are the construction/project costs for Monomoy higher than that of the original Ashland HS?
The Ashland High School design is the Model that the District decided to use to construct the new Monomoy Regional High School facility. The project costs for the Monomoy facility are higher than the costs for Ashland High School, for which the bids were received in December 2003, because there have been two building code updates since 2003 which have a cost impact to the project. Further, the construction costs in 2003 were in the $175/SF range and since then, costs have escalated to around $300/SF and the trend is that costs will continue to rise. The Monomoy Regional High School Project is projected to cost $315/SF, which is escalated through 2013.
Also, a model school still requires the same amount of labor and material to construct as a traditionally designed building resulting in the same square foot costs. The cost savings of a model school result from potentially lower change orders, reduced designer fees, and savings due to a more streamlined process of document development.
Additionally, the Model has evolved by incorporating updates to energy, acoustical, HVAC, plumbing, electrical and technology building system requirements.
Finally, the Monomoy Regional High School design was customized to address factors that are unique to the facility, including high-wind loads that impact the cost of the building enclosure, windows, roof system, and roof top mechanical equipment. The site also requires a waste water treatment facility.
Why do we have a construction contingency cost?
The project costs include a construction contingency to provide a budget for the District to use to deal with unanticipated changes during construction. Although Model Schools should yield a reduction in change orders, potential unknown factors related to the site can occur.
The District has the construction contingency to cover unexpected costs, but may not need to use all the funds. The budget is average when compared with other Model High School projects.