Athol High School gets $7.3M grant for repairs

  • Athol High School ATHOL DAILY NEWS/Deborrah Porter

Staff Writer
Thursday, February 15, 2018

ATHOL — The Athol-Royalston Regional School District will soon receive a $7,259,839 grant to replace the roof, boiler and windows and doors at Athol High School.

State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, chair of the Massachusetts School Building Authority, and Jack McCarthy, MSBA executive director/deputy chief executive officer, announced that the MSBA board of directors approved up to $21,771,518 for 10 Accelerated Repair Projects in six school districts, including Athol.

Pleased with the announcement, Athol-Royalston Regional School District Superintendent Darcy Fernandez said, “I’d like to give kudos to our business manager, Lynn Bassett, and give credit and thank Athol Town Manager Shaun Suholski and the Capital Planning Committee, who were all available to open discussions to better our school community.”

She said that the town will greatly benefit from the award.

“If we had to replace the high school roof, which is in really rough shape, it alone would cost $4 million. This grant allows us to also replace the boiler, windows and doors,” she said.

The district applied for the funds last year and MSBA brought in an operating project manager to estimate the costs. The total project budget is $10,016,786.

Fernandez said an estimated $400,445 contingency fund was also approved for the project — for unforeseen things, such as asbestos remediation. The costs will be reimbursed at 79.58 percent.

Voters in the district towns of Athol and Royalston must approve their shares (roughly $2 million and $132,000, respectively) of the project costs at their next town meetings, most likely through debt exclusion articles.

Fernandez said work will begin this spring, after funding is approved by the towns.

The main goals of the Accelerated Repair Program are to improve learning environments for children and teachers, reduce energy use and generate cost savings for districts. The program provides funding for the repair or replacement of roofs, windows, and boilers in schools that are otherwise structurally, functionally and educationally sound.

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