Saturday, March 3, 2012

Franklin High School Tours and Info Session Set for March 8

The Franklin School Building Committee will be hosting an information session on the proposed new Franklin High School and providing tours of the current high school on Thursday, March 8.

Starting at 6 p.m. tours of the current facility will be offered by members of the Franklin School Committee and others. This will serve as a great opportunity for Franklin residents to see firsthand the issues with the current building and provide a chance to ask School Committee members questions about the educational benefits of the new building.

At 7 p.m. in the Franklin High School lecture hall, the School Building Committee and architect will provide the latest update on the project and answer any questions that Franklin citizens may have. Among those scheduled to present are School Building Committee chairman Tom Mercer and Ai3 architect Jim Jordan.

"I do hope citizens take this opportunity to tour the existing FHS and see exactly why we need a new facility and hear the Architect's unveil a presentation of the design of our new facility," said Mercer.

School Committee chairwoman Paula Mullen, Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski, Franklin High School Principal Peter Light, and Owner Project Manager (OPM) Sean Fennell will also be available to answer questions. Other school and town officials will also be in attendance.

The debt exclusion to pay for the new high school is set for Tuesday, March 27 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Franklin High School Field House.  

March 8 Schedule:
6PM – High School Tours
7PM – New High School Presentation in the Franklin High School Lecture Hall

About the new Franklin High School Project:
Franklin High School was placed on Warning Status for Accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) in 2005 for issues including lack of handicap accessibility in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and outdated science labs. The School Building Committee was created to find the best solution to address the problems.

Kaestle Boos Associates was commissioned to do a study on the school finding several issues that needed to be addressed. That report from 2006 is available here:

After nearly six years of the School Building Committee exploring various renovation and new school options to rectify the issues with the current school, Franklin was invited into the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA)'s Model School Program. Both the School Building Committee and MSBA agreed the Model School Program was the best path forward for the town.

The MSBA's Model School Program gives towns the option to choose between four different model schools that have been previously designed and built, saving costs on design and reducing issues during the construction process. The School Building Committee decided upon Whitman-Hanson model.

The MSBA has agreed to fund 59.52% of the project, meaning the taxpayers of Franklin would fund $47 million of the $104 million dollar school and the debt exclusion is approved by the voters on March 27.

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