Agawam High School

Building Project



Why do we need a project?

Based on the evaluation of the existing building, the design team and their consultants have determined certain issues that have to be addressed as a result of the age of the building. Once some of these issues have been dealt with, there are triggers of building codes that will require further work to be done. This work is costly, and the ongoing feasibility study is done to determine what it might cost to renovate the existing building to meet codes and educational standards required to achieve certifications, as well as options to renovate the building to meet educational standards, safety & functionality, as well as the option to build a new building.

Duing this study, the Town of Agawam will be deciding what option is the best, and what will ultimately benefit the Town of Agawam the most. 

What is the Model School program?

The model school program references using a pre-designed model for the building design, with pre-designed drawings and layouts. The model program is not highly used as it rarely fits the enrollment, site and visioning for the districts. It is however a great way to shorten the schematic design and construction document phase, since it already is pre-designed with actual drawings.

Why is Agawam not utilizing the Model School program?

The model school program process is a very different feasibility study process, and is required to be selected when entering into the MSBA grant program and can not be changed later on. The program can be useful for elementary and middle schools, but rarley fits the high school educational programming. It was determined early on in the process that it would not fit Agawam’s educational plans and was therefor not selected. 

What is the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA)?

The Town of Agawam is working with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) on the Agawam High School Building project. The MSBA is a quasi-independent government agency that funds capital improvement projects in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ public schools. The MSBA “work[s] with local communities to create affordable, sustainable, and energy-efficient schools across Massachusetts.” It has a dedicated revenue stream of one penny of the Commonwealth’s 6.25 percent sales tax. Since 2004, the MSBA has made more than $15.6B in reimbursement payments to school districts for school construction projects.

What is the timeline for the Agawam High School Building project?

This project is expected to take anywhere from five to seven years given the rigorous and multi-step process the MSBA requires. The process began in April 2021 when the MSBA invited the Town of Agawam into the Eligibility Period following the submittal of a Statement of Interest (SOI). It is anticipated that construction or renovation of Agawam High School, at the earliest, may begin in late 2024 with project completion in 2026/2027. Final Project Schedule will be determined in a later design phase as it will depend on if the project will be a new building or addition/renovation of the existing building.

How much will the project cost? How will the project be paid for?

The estimated total cost of the Agawam High School Building Project will be unknown until the Feasibility Study is completed. The MSBA will reimburse the Town of Agawam for eligible project costs during construction. The reimbursement rates are dependent upon various socioeconomic factors, as well as limitations related to square footage, with a minimum base rate of 31 percent up to a maximum of 80 percent. Several factors can increase the MSBA’s reimbursement rate, including a community income factor, community property factor and community poverty factor. Historically, the MSBA’s reimbursement rate covers approximately 60 percent of the total project cost.

Where can I go to learn more information about this project? How can I stay informed?

The Agawam School Building Committee (SBC) is committed to an inclusive, transparent process. As the project progresses, there will be considerable opportunities for public input and community engagement, including stakeholder surveys and public meetings. The project website has information to stay informed, such as relevant news articles, meeting agendas, minutes and presentations from all public meetings. The project website will be updated regularly as new information is available.

What does DSP, PDP, PSR, FS, SD and DD stand for that are mentioned in some documents?

DSP – Designer Selection Panel

PDP – Preliminary Design Program

PSR – Preferred Schematic Report

FS – Feasibility Study

SD – Schematic Design

DD – Design Development


Project Process - Module 3

Module 3 is under way and a detailed survey of the existing building has been done in order to identify and catalogue all the spaces that are currently being used.

Educational Visioning and Space Planning is completed, and with the help of the Leadership team, teachers, students and parents, we have identified existing issues and challenges with the building, as well as goals and visions for a potential new school and making the educational plan the best possible.

The project team submitted the Preliminary Design Program (PDP) to the MSBA on July 28, 2023, and received comments back from the MSBA which were responded to.

The project team then submitted the Preferred Schematic Report (PSR) on October 26, 2023, and are currently waiting on the formal comments back from the MSBA.

The project team and District then met with the FAS (Facilities Assessment Subcommittee) on November 15th, to introduce the project to the FAS group so they can make the recommendation to present at the MSBA Board of Directors meeting on December 13, when the Town of Agawam is hoping to have the High School project approved to proceed into schematic design.



Community Forum #4

November 27, 2023 – 6pm at the High School Library

Community Forum #3

Thursday September 28, 2023 – 6-7:30pm

Community Forum #2

Monday August 28, 2023 – 6-7:30pm

City Council Working Session #2

August 21, 2023 – 3-4pm