Plymouth South High School is eligible for funding from the Massachusetts School Building Authority after unanimous votes by the Board of Selectmen and School Committee Monday and approval by the MSBA Tuesday.
The school has been invited into the MSBA'a 270-day eligibility period, in which the state authority determines Plymouth's readiness to enter the pipeline for repairing, expanding or replacing the 25-year-old building.
Many of the local requirements for the project are already in place. The town voted in 2006 to approve local funds to repair or replace Plymouth North, Plymouth South and build a senior center. The new Plymouth North opens this fall. The senior center is on its way to being completed. That leaves Plymouth South.
The school was originally designed to house 1,400 students in 1989, but that was before changes in state education laws that required vocational students to take standard classes. Capacity went down after that to 1,200. The school opened in 1991. Last year the school houses 1,400. The building has HVAC, roof, and foundation problems.
While Plymouth North will be able to house more students comfortably, the need for more classroom space continues in a town that grew more than 8 percent in the last 10 years.
Plymouth's responsibilities are to create a building committee for the project. The town's cost of any project is estimated at $40 million.
“This is a great day for Plymouth, students of the high school, and the MSBA,” State Treasurer Steven Grossman said. Grossman is also chairman of the MSBA. “I am pleased that the MSBA Board approved Plymouth South into the Eligibility Period and we can now partner with the District on possible solutions to the deficiencies that have been identified at the High School.”
“There has been a lot of hard work put into the preparations for Plymouth South and I’m happy that the Town has reached this important step in the MSBA process,” Senate President Therese Murray said. “The construction of the new Plymouth North was a great success and these improvements to our high schools will help ensure that our students receive a high quality education with the best facilities and resources.”
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 inception, the Authority has made $8.9 billion in reimbursements for school construction projects. These timely payments have saved municipalities over $2.9 billion in avoided local interest costs and have provided much needed cash flow to communities.