Financing the Project
Following is a chronological accounting of the process of financing the Newman H/V Renovation project.
Needham Voters Approve Newman Project Override
On December 8, 2009 approximately 43% of Needham's voters turned out to vote on the Newman override. About 56% supported the override and 44% voted against it. The override authorized the expenditure of $27.4 million. The Town will ultimately be responsible for $18.8 million with the remainder reimbursed by the State.
The PPBC and the architects will now move on to the design phase. Look for future updates on this website as we continue to provide up-to-date information on the project.
Town Meeting Unanimously Approved Newman Expenditure
At their November 2 session, Town Meeting members unanimously approved spending $27.4 million -- $8.6 million of which is slated for State reimbursement -- for the Newman renovation project. The approval is contingent upon a successful override by the voters on December 8.
Information about the Newman project presented to Town Meeting members and parents on October 28
Selectmen and Finance Committee voted to Support Newman Override
The Selectmen voted to support the override and place it on the Decemer 8 ballot. This was in response to an October 6 School Committee recommendation. Click here to view the October 6 School Committee powerpoint.
MSBA Approves $8.6M Funding
On September 30, the MSBA voted unanimously to reimburse the Town of Needham for up to $8,598,927 of the Newman Renovation project. This amount represents 40% of allowable costs, which includes most of the building costs less the modulars that will temporarily house students during construction. The Town now has 120 days to pass a capital override. Needham's local share will be the difference between the total project costs and $8,598,927.
What are the costs and how is it financed?
The project architects have identified a $27.4 million cost estimate for the Newman School repair/renovation project. To view information provided by the MSBA about eligible and ineligible costs and the planned reimbursement, click here -- Newman Renovation Budget. This estimate includes the repairs to the heating and ventilation system (including related code-required alterations and mechanical work), the cost of the modular classrooms, and other scope items, which are designed to extend the useful life of the school facility. The related
scope items include: improvements to the electrical/technology infrastructure, renovation of the kitchen, auditorium, structural, lighting and sound installation, and reconfiguration of the guidance/nursing/office areas.
Does the $27.4 M include soft costs such as design fees, engineers and architect's fees?
Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) Support at $8,598,927
On September 30 MSBA voted unanimously to reimburse the Town of Needham for $8,598,927 of the Newman Renovation project. This was the final approval step following months of work with the MSBA through which they had signaled interest in supporting the project with up to 40% of the project costs. Although State funding is not guaranteed until a funding agreement is signed and local funds are secured through a debt exclusion override (which must happen within 120 days of September 30), this is the last step in the MSBA process. The MSBA has not historically supported the costs of relocating students; for this reason the modular classrooms are not included in the reimbursement commitment. Click here to be linked to the MSBA website.
Where Does MSBA Get Its Funding?MSBA is funded through the sales tax. State funding is not guaranteed until a funding agreement is signed and local funds are secured through a debt exclusion override. Given the current economic climate, the MSBA is not taking on projects it cannot afford.
A Debt Exclusion Override Will Be Needed to Complete the Project
Completion of the project is contingent upon a successful debt exclusion override (December 8, 2009) and Special Town Meeting (November 2, 2009) approval of the remaining project costs after anticipated MSBA support. The Town must secure local funding for this project within 120 days of MSBA approval if we expect to receive reimbursement. If the Town does not support funding within this timeframe, the MSBA will not provide any reimbursement for the project.
How Much Will This Increase My Taxes?
Before voters need to make a decision on the Newman project, the Town finance department will calculate the impact on the average single family tax bill in Needham. That amount is expected to be available in October.
Why Is an HVAC system so expensive?
The HVAC replacement is expensive because it requires a total replacement of both the mechanical equipment and the ductwork distribution system. The nature of the replacement is invasive to the building and interior portions, requires additional steel structural supporting needs, chases and soffits, and a total roof replacement. In addition, we are required to meet current building codes by adding seismic reinforcements, installing a sprinkler fire suppression system (which does not presently exist), upgrading door openings and making handicapped access improvements. In addition, we must relocate students to modular classrooms at a cost of approximately $5 million which is included in this project.
What Happens if the Costs are Higher than Projected?
A number of contingencies are prudently factored into the construction budget. In total those contingencies are about 8% of the budget.