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The 7-12 School Really Is the Least Expensive Solution

The new Belmont 7-12 School is the most effective and least expensive solution to fix the space problem at all six Belmont schools for the least cost, maintain the value of Belmont homes, and affirm Belmont as a town that values education.

Belmont Needs the New 7-12 School

If we build the new 7-12 school and shift a few grades, we create enough space in all of our school buildings for all of the town’s children – from kindergarten through 12th grade.

What’s wrong with Belmont High School?

On Nov. 6, Belmont voters will decide whether to fund the Belmont 7-12 School to replace the old Belmont High School.
What’s wrong with the building we have?

Belmont High School Design Concord Ave View

Keeping Belmont’s Children Safe

From the front door to the science labs to the stoplight on Concord Avenue, decisions on the Belmont 7-12 School project have been made with the safety and security of Belmont’s children as the highest priority.

Upcoming Events

Q&A on the Belmont 7-12 School

October 18th, 7-8:30pm
120 Crestview Rd., Belmont
Organized by members of Citizens for a New Chenery and Together for Wellington.
Download the flyer.

 

Song and Dance Party featuring Vanessa Trien and the Jumping Monkeys

October 20th, 9:30am, Belmont High School Cafeteria
A get-together for families with young children.
Download the flyer.

WALK A MILE IN THEIR SHOES
Dialogue and Q&A with current Belmont High School Students

October 25th, 7-8:30pm
At the home of Linda and Jeff Levin-Sherz
75 Woodbine Rd., Belmont

Download the Flyer

 

What’s wrong with the old school?

A new school – what, when, and how?

Two schools in one – middle & high school
This is an exciting opportunity for all Belmont students.

  • Our elementary schools can once again become true neighborhood schools.
  • Our 4th through 6th graders can remain younger by delaying entry to middle school.
  • 7th and 8th graders will benefit from access to resources previously unavailable to them.
  • And all children will benefit from a school without overcrowding.

Learn more

Keep what works – replace what doesn’t
The new school is a combination of renovation and addition.

  • The design preserves athletic facilities.
  • The high school classrooms and shared spaces will be replaced.
  • A new middle school wing will create an appropriately-sized facility for 7th and 8th graders, who are very overcrowded at the current middle school.

Learn more

One project solves overcrowding at all six schools
With one project, we can solve Belmont’s entire overcrowding problem throughout the K-12 district. Through a coordinated “shift” — grades 7-8 to the middle/high school and grade 4 to the Chenery upper elementary school — every building will have the space needed to properly serve our “new normal” enrollment levels.

Learn more

Hard facts about the numbers

$80 million state funding is on the line
For more than 10 years, Belmont applied to the state to enter the grant program to help build a new school. Finally, in 2016, Belmont was chosen.

  • In August 2018, the state approved an approximately $80 million state grant to help build the Belmont 7-12 School, leaving approximately $213 million to be funded by Belmont taxpayers.
  • The grant is tied to the current design, cost and timeline for the new school and cannot be changed.
  • This is a one-time, limited offer. Belmont must approve funding for the new school in the November 6 election.
  • If the town rejects the project in the November 6 referendum, Belmont forfeits the $80 million state grant and the money will be given to another town that has public support to fund and build a school. MSBA grants are “use it or lose it” opportunities.
  • If that happens, we will be on our own to solve our problems. After wasting 2 1/2 years of their time, the MSBA will not be interested in choosing Belmont again any time soon. If we vote “no” in this referendum, we need to be prepared to “go it alone” without state funds.
Cost is comparable to Arlington and Waltham
Belmont is not alone. Other towns with projects similar to Belmont’s in terms of timeline and complexity are coming in with the same ballpark cost, if not more.

Arlington recently completed their feasibility study and chose a design with an estimated price tag of $308 million.

Waltham began the feasibility study process in 2016 and produced estimates for two sites that ranged from $283 million to $300 million. Neither of these town-owned sites were feasible, and in June 2018 the town council voted to use eminent domain to take property for a new school. The land will cost $18 million, and with 4% escalation of construction costs, the new school could cost as much as $324 million, plus land.

Yet both of these projects will serve fewer children than Belmont’s. Arlington’s new/renovated school will serve 1,755 students at a cost of $175K per student. Waltham’s new school will serve 1,830 students at a cost of $187K per student. Belmont’s new/renovated school will serve 2,215 students at a cost of $133K per student. Belmont will see a much higher value per student than either of our neighboring towns.

Spend now … or spend more later
The Belmont 7-12 School will cost a total of $295 million. With $80 million from the state and $2 million already spent on feasibility and design, that leaves a balance of $213 million funded through debt – if voters approve the funding on November 6.

It is tempting to think that there must be a cheaper solution, but this is not the case.

  • Any other approach will require renovations and additions at Belmont High School and Chenery Middle School, in addition to 40+ modular classrooms to support enrollment until these projects are completed – potentially a 10-15 year process.
  • This piecemeal approach will likely cost Belmont taxpayers more than the Belmont 7-12 School – this cost analysis will be available from the school department in mid-September.