Agawam High School

Building Project

FAQ

GENERAL QUESTIONS

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. The school is also at risk of loosing its NEASC accredidation and is on a probabtionary status while looking into building a new school.

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.

Can we see the accredidation plan?

The current NEASC accredidation plan was issued in 2019 and is available to view in the Documents Tab on this website. Principal Blain stated that we are currently in “warning” status and that will be good as long as we are committed to building with MSBA.  If town says no, we are booted out of MSBA and accreditation will be gone within two years

If Agawam loses its accreditation, would this affect students’ ability to get federal student loans?

The effects of loosing NEASC accrediation is not fully know and the project team will  look into this further.

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, will begin in early 2025 with project completion in the Fall of 2028 with the completion of fields. A final project schedule will be issued later on during the design phase.

How much will the project cost?

The estimated total cost of the Agawam High School Building Project is currently at $231.5M. 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 and is currently estimated at $99M.

When will the project payments start?

The first payments would start in Fiscal Year 2029 (7/1/28 – 6/30/29) and would be on a single bond.

Would the New High School question be on the ballot as one question or two?

The Mayor specified it will be listed as one question – yes or no to a new high school.  Several people wanted specific information in easy to understand language placed on the ballot but it is very limited as to what you can list. 

If you vote no, taxes will still increase by an average of $340-$353 per year, to pay for imminent repairs. If you vote yes, your taxes will increase on average $465-488 peryear to pay for the new school.

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 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.

Where do you plan on putting the school?

The proposed new school will be built on the existing site, and by utilizing phasing it will be replacing the existing building across much of the same footprint and the soccer & baseball fields will also be replaced. 

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 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 UPDATES

Schematic Design - Module 4

The High School project is now in Module 4 – Schematic Design. This phase will dictate the project budget and design that ultimately will be the basis of the Project Funding Agreement with the MSBA. The completed Schematic Design package was submitted to the MSBA on May 2, 2024 and will be up for Board Approval at the June 26, 2024 MSBA Board of Directors meeting.

Part of the Schematic Design process also includes the procurement of a CM (Construction Manager) at Risk. This process started with public advertising of the project in December 2023. Six very qualified CM firms submitted Qualification Statements and all firms were interviewed on February 14 & 15. Based on the ratings the final selection was made by the CM-at-Risk Subcommittee the following day and Fontaine Bros/W.T. Rich was selected.

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 received formal comments back from the MSBA which were responded to on December 6, 2023.

Following the PSR submission, 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 could make the recommendation to present at the MSBA Board of Directors meeting on December 13, when the MSBA Board of Directors unanimously voted that the Town of Agawam and the High School project was approved to proceed into schematic design.

UPCOMING EVENTS

School Building Committee Meeting #23

May 20, 2024 – Virtual Only 

MOST RECENT EVENTS

Project Information Night #4

May 1, 2024 – Sapelli School Cafeteria

Project Information Night #3

April 25, 2024 – Lunch at Agawam Senior Center

Project Information Night #2

April 24, 2024 – Phelps School Library

Project Information Night #1

April 10, 2024 – Doering School Auditorium

Community Forum #5

February 26, 2024 – 7pm at the Agawam Public Library

CM-r Subcommittee Meeting #3

February 15, 2024

CM-r Interviews

February 15, 2024

CM-r Interviews

February 14, 2024

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