Hopkinton voters will decide whether to approve the Elmwood Elementary School replacement project at a Special Town Meeting on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Hopkinton Middle School auditorium, followed by a town election on Nov. 28.
Last week, the financial picture surrounding the proposed new Grades 2-4 facility on Hayden Rowe Street changed when the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) voted to increase reimbursement by 31%, or $14,743,782. That brings the MSBA total to $61,527,604.
On the warrant, Town Meeting members will be asked to vote on the overall project budget of $158 million. This amount does not include any MSBA reimbursement or possible energy-related rebates factored into the total.
According to Elementary School Building Committee chair Jon Graziano, the boost comes as the result of the state legislature voting for “a one-time $100 million bailout for 30 projects that bid between 2021 and 2022. … So Hopkinton benefited from that vote.”
Graziano noted that the impact of the higher reimbursement is that the town’s contribution is reduced to $91.2 million.
“This reduces the tax impact on the average home by almost $100 in the peak year,” Graziano said.
During a recent ESBC forum, Bill Flannery of the Appropriation Committee reviewed the tax impact for the proposed new school. At the time, he said for an average $753,000 valued home, taxes would increase by $1,086 in the peak year and then decrease over the years following on a 30-year borrowing plan.
Chris Eberly, Vertex senior project manager, said at that forum that energy rebates of between $5 million and $7 million were possible from the Inflation Reduction Act and MassSave. Hopkinton would receive those funds one to two years following the project’s completion.
He also said construction would begin “well into 2025,” with a targeted opening date in 2028.
When asked if any of the increased reimbursement money would be used to add back features or tweak the school’s design, Graziano said no. “This gained money will not impact the scope of the project,” he said. “The entirety is being used to reduce the burden on the taxpayers for the cost of the proposed project.”
In a written statement, Superintendent Carol Cavanaugh said the proposed Elmwood School would have a physical plant specifically designed to meet the needs of 21st century learners. She said the school would “allow for differentiation by student learning profile; access to multiple literacies, hands-on science, technology and engineering instruction; and more.”
She called the increased reimbursement, “an amazing benefit of Hopkinton’s partnership with the MSBA.”
The ESBC will have another forum next Tuesday (Nov. 7) at 7 p.m. in person at the high school and available on Zoom.