Estabrook Elementary School hopped on the fast track to a rebuild in the summer of 2010, when officials discovered higher-than-recommended levels of PCBs in the air at the school.
That fall, after months of remediation work couldn’t solve the PCB problem, the School Committee authorized submittal of an emergency statement of interest (SOI) to the Massachusetts School Building Authority seeking funding for a new Estabrook.
The project moved into the MSBA’s capital pipeline for potential funding in February 2011, progressed through the feasibility study and schematic design phases and eventually earned approval last week to advance to the project scope and budget phase.
About this time last year, annual Town Meeting voted to appropriate $1.05 million for an Estabrook feasibility study and another $100,000 to design an expanded Robinson Road to access to the school property. However, just before the annual meeting dissolved, a motion to reconsider and lively debate resulted in an amendment to double the appropriation to $200,000 and expand the study to Estabrook School site access in general. This led to the formation of the Estabrook School Access Ad Hoc Task Force (ETF).
In November 2011, the School Committee unanimously agreed to move forward with an ETF-backed plan for cars and construction vehicles to access the school off Grove Street, and not Robinson Road, during construction.
A vision of the project emerged the following month as the School Committee voted in December to support a three-story schematic design with a north-south orientation and green design elements.
In January of this year, the Estabrook project earned approval at a special town election with an unknown price tag in the area of $30 million to $42.8 million.
The ETF delivered its report in February, concluding the current driveway on Grove Street should remain the primary access to the school, with Robinson Road remaining a secondary access for limited use. The task force report also calls for widening Robinson Road, eliminating car queuing during drop-off and pickup times and other improvements in the area, including installing sidewalks leading to the school from Turning Mill Road.
Last Wednesday, March 28, the MSBA announced approval of a new Estabrook School in a press release that identified the total project budget at $40,792,248, with an MSBA Estimated Maximum Total Facilities Grant of $12,250,739.
And finally on Monday, April 2, a special Town Meeting unanimously approved an appropriation of $40,792,248 for the construction of a new Estabrook School.