Orange voters pass debt exclusion for elementary school project


Staff Writer
Published: 6/22/2020 8:10:46 PM
Modified: 6/22/2020 8:11:41 PM

ORANGE – The town’s elementary school project is a go after residents voted more than 2 to 1 on Monday in favoring of ratifying a Proposition 2½ debt exclusion they passed at the Annual Town Meeting last week.

According to results from Town Clerk Nancy Blackmer, 598 people voted in favor of ratification while 260 opposed it. Voting was held in Ralph C. Mahar Regional School’s Grzesik-Bixby Gymnasium from noon to 7 p.m.

The plan is to build a three-story addition onto Fisher Hill Elementary School and demolish Dexter Park Innovation School, moving all students into the expanded and renovated building, which is expected to serve the town’s educational needs for at least 50 years.

Dexter Park was built in 1951 and the Massachusetts School Building Authority, a quasi-independent government authority, designated it a “Category 4” school, its lowest rating, in 2006. Voters approved funding a feasibility study in 2018 to study the Dexter Park issue and devise repair or replacement options.

The work is projected to cost a total of $57.6 million, with a $45.7 million construction cost. Orange will contribute $23 million, to be raised through the debt exclusion. The Massachusetts School Building Authority, which Orange School Building Committee Chairman Bruce Scherer said gets its money through sales tax, will cover 80 percent of the project’s eligible costs.

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