Monday, October 12, 2009

Letter from Ed Cafasso

Hello everyone,

As promised, I am writing to provide a progress report on the building renovation initiative for Franklin High School (FHS).

Last week, following approval by the Finance Committee, the Town Council voted unanimously to authorize a $1 million bond for the next phase of the FHS renovation. This funding allows Franklin to hire an Owners Project Manager (OPM) and an Architect to bring the project to the schematic design phase. Under the rules of Massachusetts School Building Authority (SBA), if the Town commits to financing the full cost of this phase, the SBA will refund an estimated 30 - 45%.

The Milford Daily News covered the issue when it came before the Finance Committee ( and Town Council ( The newspaper stories said the funding would go to “a study.”

That description is off the mark. The bonding authorized this week will result in actual schematic diagrams of the likely renovations, showing the components of the project and its scale. These diagrams will be prepared by a professional architect in close collaboration with an experienced project manager and with members of the Building Committee.

This phase of the project is NOT the same as the study completed in October 2006 by the firm Kaestle Boos, which looked at FHS at the request of the School Committee. It provided a general look of the building’s condition and a “blue sky” assessment of what might be done, ranging from minimal fixes to the construction of a completely new building. You can view the 2006 report at

The funding authorized this past week allows Franklin to move forward to hire the professional project manager and architect  who will produce the formal schematic designs for renovation work. Every step occurs under the formal supervision of the SBA and the local Building Committee. The design options will be based on the specific renovation ideas that were part of the Town’s application for SBA funding. Those renovation ideas arose from a tour of the FHS building in December 2009 by professional SBA inspection team and subsequent discussions between members of the Building Committee and SBA officials.

The hiring of an Owner’s Project Manager is required by the SBA and by state law. The OPM should be in place by December or January and the Architect should be on board by March or April. Once schematic design is complete, and there is an agreement with all parties involved, including the SBA, a debt exclusion will be required to move toward construction.

Approximately 12 to 18 months from now, Franklin voters will have a very clear picture of the renovation project – the precise work involved, the cost and the timing – and will be asked to vote on whether the town should borrow the amount needed to pay for it over time. If voters approve the debt exclusion, a substantial portion of the total cost (a minimum of 31 percent) will be reimbursed by the state.

Keep in mind that the exact timing of every step in this process is controlled largely by the SBA, which holds tight supervision over all projects they are likely are to subsidize. Information on the general SBA process is available at:
You can learn more about the FHS project on this Tuesday night (Oct. 13) when Tom Mercer, chairman of the School Building Committee, discusses this phase of work the School Committee at a meeting that begins at 7 pm the Municipal Building. Middle school parents may wish to tune in or attend. Also please keep in mind that “Panther Pride” night, an informational open house for 8thgrade families, is scheduled to occur at FHS on the evening of Wednesday, October 21.

These e-mails are provided as a constituent service. I try to distribute at least one e-mail update each month during the school year, as issues warrant. As always, I welcome your thoughts and suggestions. If you are receiving duplicate e-mails or if you no longer wish to receive these e-mails, please let me know and I will remove you from the distribution list. If you know of someone you would like to add to the list, please send along their e-mail address.

Thank you!

Ed Cafasso, Member
Franklin School Committee

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