Shawsheen Tech Proposes Special Fund in Anticipation of Capital Needs

February 27, 2024

The Annual Town Meeting warrant will include an article for establishing a stabilization fund in anticipation of costs to maintain, renovate, and maybe even replace the Shawsheen Valley Regional Technical High School building in Billerica.

Shawsheen Tech Superintendent-Director Tony McIntosh told the Select Board on Monday that the money would be available for any capital purchase. The board recommended that Town Meeting approve the article.

Bedford and the other four towns in the Shawsheen Tech district – Billerica, Burlington, Tewksbury, and Wilmington – will be seeking Town Meeting approval to move forward. No allocations are being proposed for this year.

In answer to board member Paul Mortenson’s question, the superintendent-director said approval by four of the five Town Meetings is required to establish the fund. Spending would be authorized by the Shawsheen Tech School Committee, composed of two representatives from each of the five towns.

Shawsheen Tech opened in 1970 and has never undergone a major renovation. McIntosh said, “More and more of our capital budget is being allocated for maintenance and repairs expenses.”

The stabilization fund would segregate money not only for repairs, but also to finance a major construction feasibility study, required by the Massachusetts School Building Authority before state assistance can be approved for renovations or replacements. McIntosh said the price tag for such a study is $1.5 to $2 million.

“We are trying to be as proactive as we can in the short term,” McIntosh said. “We can pick away, year-over-year, but the reality is someday it’s going to happen.”

Mortenson asked if there may be a need to build a new school. McIntosh replied, “We have over 1,300 kids in a school building for 1,000.” He added that there is pending legislation to help offset the cost of a project of that size to the district.

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