AUBURN, Mass. – The second time was the charm for the $73 million Bay Path school addition/renovation project.
The project was rejected last spring, but voters from 10 area towns, including Auburn, approved it in a special election Thursday. Voters decided that Southern Worcester County Regional Vocational School District can borrow $73.8 million for renovations and additions at the Bay Path Vocational Technical High School
Fifty-eight percent of district voters cast a “yes” ballot. There were 5,303 yes votes and 3,836 no votes.
The measure passed in Auburn as 10.3 percent of registered voters came out to the polls. There were 684 yes votes and 508 no votes in Auburn, a 57 percent approval margin.
“We are excited that a majority of those who voted supported our addition/renovation project,” said Superintendent-Director John Lafleche in a written statement. “Bay Path appreciates the strong support of its communities’ leaders, especially the Board of Selectmen and Town Council. In addition, we extend a special thank you to the town clerks and their staffs for running a very professional election.”
The total project cost is projected at $73.8 million, with a $46.5 million reimbursement from the Massachusetts School Building Association (MSBA).
According to Bay Path officials, Auburn’s share would be $3,589,631 (without interest included) for the work to add 50,000 square feet and renovate the 45-year-old school. The estimated tax impact on the average Auburn home, valued at $222,492, is $8.49 for fiscal year 2014, with a maximum annual cost of $26.09.
The project would provide a 50,000-square-foot addition and replace a 45-year-old roof, the heating and ventilation system, windows and much more.
“The School Committee, School Building Committee and administration of the school will begin working toward the selection of a construction manager at risk immediately so that construction can begin during 2013,” Lafleche said. “Once completed, our project will insure that we have state of the art vocational and academic classrooms and shops in a building large enough to educate our 1,100 students.
“There is no doubt that the approved project is the most educationally sound and fiscally responsible way to provide vocational education in Southern Worcester County for the next 50 years,” he added.