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State says Arlington High School rebuild can advance

How Arlington High School, parts of it built in 1914, looks today.How Arlington High School, part of it built in 1914, looks today. 

UPDATED, May 27: The board of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) has voted unanimously to move Arlington High School into the eligibility period for consideration of its application to rebuild.

"It's very exciting," Superintendent Kathleen Bodie told the School Committee Thursday, May 26, a day after the state decision. "But just because you're in eligibility doesn’t mean you go to next stage."

To comply, the administration must provide an initial series of documents to the state agency within 180 days from June 8 to December, and then more of them 90 days after that The extensive documentation may be submitted before target deadlines but not after.

"They want to work with you," Bodie said of the state agency, adding that if there were a problem with state funding of school-construction projects, that could stop the local effort.

The state had given the high school project a preliminary approval last January, but because of the number of projects statewide, it had to stagger how it handles them, so the final OK for the town to move forward was delayed until May 25. Rep. Sean Garballey, Democrat of Arlington and West Medford, posted the first news of the approval on the Arlington School Enrollment Community Group Facebook site on Wednesday.

"This is great news and progress for rebuilding Arlington High School!," he wrote.

In January, YourArlington reported: The project to rebuild Arlington High School is in the state pipeline for funding, but it must clear a vote in May before moving ahead in earnest.

Reshaping the sprawling school, whose oldest sections date from 1914, is a complex challenge that could take five years.

In a news release, state Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, chair of the authority, and MSBA Chief Executive Officer Maureen Valente announced the decision. During the 270-day eligibility period, the agency will work with district officials to determine Arlington's financial and community readiness to enter the state's capital pipeline.

The next step is for the District to complete preliminary requirements pertaining to local approval and formation of a local school building committee. Upon timely and successful completion of the eligibility-period requirements, the district becomes eligible for an invitation into the feasibility-study phase, subject to a vote of the Board of Directors.

"The eligibility period is a critical step in the MSBA’s process of evaluating potential work on Arlington High School," Valente said in the release. "We look forward to our continued partnership with the District as it enters the eligibility period."

The MSBA partners with Massachusetts communities to support the design and construction of educationally-appropriate, flexible, sustainable and cost-effective public school facilities. Since its 2004 inception, the authority has made more than 1,700 site visits to more than 250 school districts as part of its due diligence process and has made over $12 billion in reimbursements for school construction projects.

Eligibility period: Schedule of deliverables (source: MSBA)

Eligibility period commences two weeks after board meeting date (May 25)

Initial compliance certification, 30 days;

School building committee, 60 days;
Educational profile questionnaire, 90 days;

Online enrollment projection, 90 days (Bodie said consultant Gordon McKibben may be asked to update projections);

Enrollment/certification executed, 180 days;

Maintenance and capital-planning information, 180 days;

Local vote authorization, 270 days;

Feasibility study agreement, 270 days;

Eligibility period concludes, 270 days after it begins.

Note: The MSBA requires districts that are unable to complete the preliminary requirements within the timeframes noted for each deliverable to withdraw its statement of interest and reapply when the district has the financial and community support required. 

Jan. 29, 2016: Arlington High School rebuild OK comes with a delay

Jan. 27, 2016: Arlington High rebuild is a go, administration says

Massachusetts School Building Authority process overview

Jan. 27, 2016: State agency moves Minuteman plan forward, too

This brief was published Wednesad, May 25, 2016, and updated May 27, to update all copy.

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