Mattapoisett Selectmen question school renovation plan

Apr 4, 2019

MATTAPOISETT — Selectmen want some more information from Old Rochester Regional School officials before sending a $2 million fields-and-auditorium renovation project to Town Meeting.

At an April 4 meeting, the board agreed to have Town Administrator Michael Gagne send a letter to the district with questions and a request that school officials meet with the town’s Capital Planning Committee.

The renovation project, under discussion in several forms for years, would upgrade deteriorating athletic fields and the auditorium’s lighting and sound system. The cost of the project would be split among Mattapoisett, Marion and Rochester with taxpayers all seeing a tax increase as funds borrowed for the project are repaid.

The Old Rochester Regional School Committee approved the proposal on Jan. 26 and sent it to the three towns for Town Meeting votes.

On Thursday, Gagne pointed out that the total cost of the $2 million project rises to $2.6 million when interest is factored in. He and Chairman Jordyn Collyer expressed concern that this might be the first of several million-dollar requests from the regional school.

Gagne suggested the proposal be ranked alongside other capital projects that would need town funding. Among the questions in his letter will be a request to know whether the fields-and-auditorium is Old Rochester’s top capital priority.

The town administrator said the project would have to be treated with the same priority as any other proposal costing more than $10,000. “Like everything else, it has to be considered,” said Gagne, but “where does it fit in our plan?”

Rochester and Marion already approved the proposal to go to their annual town meetings.

School officials could not be reached for comments on the board’s reaction to the fields-and-auditorium proposal.