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Sterling Middle School next on Quincy’s list of school repairs

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  January 28, 2013 04:49 PM

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With the $40 million rebuilding of Central Middle School well underway, Quincy School officials are already eyeing the next big project: renovating Sterling Middle School.

A renovation or rebuild of the 86-year-old building will be included on document - alongside window repairs at North Quincy High, Merrymount Elementary, and Wollaston Elementary - to be submitted to the Massachusetts School Building Authority within the next two weeks.

City officials hope to obtain some level of state funding to move the projects along.

“Right now, Central is always the priority until we’re done. That’s a number one priority. The number two would be Sterling Middle,” said Superintendent Dr. Richard DeCristofaro. “After that, we’ll wait and see as we progress through the Statement of Interest process, working with the MSBA towards what they [can give us] towards funding.”

The School Committee and City Council have already signed off on the document, called a Statement of Interest.

DeCristofaro said the school community might get a response quickly on window repairs.

Being done through the Accelerated Repair Program through the MSBA, Quincy officials are looking to begin some of the upgrades during the summer months.

Estimates for the project put North Quincy repairs at a potential $2.8 million cost. Merrymount most likely will cost $600,000, followed by $580,000 in window repairs at Wollaston.

“The accelerated repair program is much more detailed … they have prequalified contractors and architects that they have ready to do these buildings. It saves time and money when a city or town goes into accelerated repair,” DeCristofaro said.

DeCristofaro wasn’t sure if Quincy would have to prioritize the repairs, but if the state mandated a ranking, North Quincy would rise above the rest.

Although the window repairs are important, renovating Sterling - which currently doesn't have a price tag - is truly the final puzzle piece in massive upgrades to Quincy schools.

“If it goes back to 1995, when the city had a plan for its school buildings. This was the final piece of that plan. It was Quincy High, Central, and Sterling,” DeCristofaro said. “They have done a lot over the past 10 years to do renovations to a lot of the other schools, so I think the last really significant piece of renovations/new building would be the Sterling Middle School.”

For Ward 4 Councilor Brian Palmucci, Sterling’s upgrade is a long time coming.

“Sterling has been talked about for at least the past 20 years or more about having to be reconstructed,” Palmucci said. “The school was built in 1927. The school is incredibly old. It’s falling apart; it’s had no major infrastructure upgrades since it was built…the heating, plumbing, electrical systems are all in dire need of repair.”

Palmucci said Sterling has been a talking point since he ran for office several years ago, and he has had many conversations with city officials about the project since being elected.

Although submitting a Statement of Interest to potentially secure state money is only a first step, it is a promising one, Palmucci said.

“Seeking aid from the MSBA, a time when labor cost and materials costs are low due to economic downturn - this is the time ... to make infrastructure improvements ,” Palmucci said.

“We have excellent staff, excellent teachers, the maintenance workers, how they keep [the building] going is amazing…we need to provide them with the infrastructure that reflects that, that reflects the 21 century education we’re trying to provide,” he said

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