Nashoba Tech Informs Communities of Plan to Repair Roof, Windows and Doors
SHIRLEY -- At Town Meetings this spring in the towns that comprise the Nashoba Valley Technical High School District, voters will be asked to pay their share of what promises to be Nashoba Tech’s last major project for some time, according to Superintendent Denise Pigeon, who sketched the $3.3 million roof, window and door replacement plan at the selectmen’s meeting Monday night.
It was one of several stops on her itinerary as she makes similar presentations to town officials across the eight-member regional school district.
More than half the towns on that roster belong to a main stream, K-12 regional school district as well.
Shirley and Ayer are part of the Ayer Shirley Regional School District, formed in 2011.
Groton, Pepperell and Townsend also belong to K-12 regional school districts as well as Nashoba Tech.
Dual membership means paying two educational assessments each year in which operating costs for each school district are parceled out based on a number of factors, including student enrollment percentages, transportation and each town’s “minimum contribution,” set by the state.
The other three Nashoba Tech members, Chelmsford, Littleton and Westford, support stand-alone K-12 public school districts in their respective towns.
Regional school district membership offers many advantages, proponents say, such as enhanced program options, administrative economies and sharing the cost of capital projects, which need Town Meeting approval to move forward.
The Nashoba Tech roof project must clear a path through separate town meetings in eight communities.
Although articles framed for each Town Meeting warrant seek permission to borrow up to the project’s $3.3 million estimated cost cap, the final figure should be substantially lower thanks to anticipated reimbursement - $1.5 million - from the Massachusetts School Building Authority, or MSBA, Pigeon said, and that savings translates to lower pay-ins for member towns.
The project proposes to replace a section of the building’s roof that’s past its lifespan and leaks, along with rooftop HVAC equipment and aged-out windows and doors. “We have video” filmed by students and posted on the Nashoba Tech website that shows the roof’s condition, she said. “We’ve been doing it in sections,” and this is the final stage. It’s also the last “large” project envisioned in the near future.
Why forward this project now?
Timing was not only needs based, Pigeon explained; it also takes assessments into account.
The debt for an earlier project that replaced a separate roof section in 2014 is about to come off-line, with a final payment due soon and if the member towns approve the project, payments on the new debt would pick up about where the old one leaves off, she said.
According to the FY2019-2020 budget booklet, which the NVTSD School Committee approved in February, the assessment figures are as follows, roof project included.
Ayer, 51 students. Assessment: $764,256. Of that amount, $45,268 goes toward the roof project.
Shirley, 51 students: $662,012, ( includes $45,268 for the roof project.)
Chelmsford, 186 students. $3,101,017 (Roof: $106,094.)
Groton, 43 students. $728,802 (Roof: $48,167.)
Littleton, 29 students. $486,821 ( Roof: $25,740.)
Pepperell, 129 students. $1,686,204 (Roof: $114,501.)
Townsend, 86 students. $997,634 (Roof: $76,334.)
Westford, 64 students. $1,000,697 (Roof: $56,807.)
Founded in 1965 by the towns of Chelmsford, Groton, Littleton and Westford, Nashoba Tech had incorporated three more towns by 1979. The last to come on board was Ayer, which joined in 2012, a year after regionalizing with Shirley.
The region’s resources continue to grow, including expanded course offerings and ambitious capital projects. In the early 2000′s, a major two-year expansion included an expansive overhaul of the school’s athletic facilities, completed in 2013 with installation of a new track and turf field.
Freshmen explore all technical program areas to choose a “major” area of study for the next four years, with instruction divided between academics and technical courses. The stated goal of the two-sided curriculum is to prepare students for a range of college and career choices, with advanced placement classes available in all core subjects and a college dual-enrollment program for juniors and seniors.
The school also partners with local businesses and reaches out to area communities for service projects students can get into, such as carpentry, culinary arts; electrical, plumbing and heating technology or other work related to their fields of study.