Report: School consolidation not possible ‘without significant construction’
MATTAPOISETT — A year-long study to investigate the possible consolidation of Center School and Old Hammondtown School in Mattapoisett found that neither facility could handle consolidation “without significant construction.”
According to UMass Boston’s Collins Center for Public Management, the organization that conducted the study, neither building is capable of housing Mattapoisett’s Pre-k through sixth grade students based on current and projected enrollment rates.
The study presented five alternative plans that range in cost, time-commitment and benefit for the town.
The first plan proposed no changes. Pre-k through third grade students would remain in Center School. Fourth grade through sixth grade students would remain in Old Hammondtown School. According to the report, this plan has no additional costs to the town on top of normal maintenance and operating costs and would be the “least disruptive” to students and staff.
In plan two, Center School would see a 9,000 square-foot addition that could cost the town approximately $7.4 million. This addition would accommodate Old Hammondtown School’s fourth, fifth and sixth grade students.
According to the study, plan two “poses significant construction challenges and has minimum expansion potential.”
Plan three proposes an 8,100 square-foot addition to Old Hammondtown School that could cost the town approximately $6.7 million. This addition would accommodate Center School’s pre-k, first, second and third grade students.
According to the study, plan three has the best opportunity for expansion due to the size of Old Hammondtown School’s campus.
However, if this plan were pursued, Center School would no longer be a functioning school building.
When collecting public input on the school consolidation plan, the Collins Center found that residents have a “desire” to maintain Center School’s use as a school building.
Plan four proposes that first, second and third graders move to Old Hammondtown School while Center School becomes an “early childhood center” for Pre-k and kindergarten students. This would require a $4.21 million expansion to Old Hammondtown School.
This plan would allow Town Hall operations to move into a portion of Center School, but the study noted that “ sharing Center School with expanded town departments presents a school security challenge.”
The final plan, and the most costly, proposes the construction of an entirely new school building which is estimated to cost over $80 million. According to the report, “ many unknowns exist” in this plan and “availability of land is a primary concern.”
The Collins Center report concluded by encouraging Mattapoisett to “further study [the town’s] growth potential, climate impacts, and other influencing factors.”
“From here as a town we need to digest and continue to partner and collaborate with [stakeholders],” said Mattapoisett School Committee Chair Carly Lavin. “I think it’s the beginning of the dialogue.”
The full 190-page school consolidation report can be found online at mattapoisett.net.