Peebles Project Takes Step Toward Funding

Bourne Public Schools has entered into a first step toward receiving funding to repair or replace the Peebles Elementary School.

The Massachusetts School Building Authority has announced the school district’s application has entered the initial “eligibility” review phase.

The purpose of the eligibility period is to help determine the school district’s readiness to manage a capital project and to assist with the planning of the project and the formation of a project team.

Edward S. Donoghue, director of business services, listed in a statement of interest document prepared for the Massachusetts School Building Authority, several of the facilities issues that renovation or rebuilding would need to address at the elementary school.

Peebles was built in 1953 and has served the town for 61 years.

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Mr. Donoghue stressed that the building is currently safe for the 400 students in attendance but still has the original windows, heating and ventilation, and electrical systems of the 1950s. Energy-efficiency and technology and computer demands are taxing the original systems. In addition the brick facade of the school and the foundation of the rear annex, added in 1959, are showing signs of decay. Classroom, library and special education space needs are also of concern to the district.

The statement of interest was discussed at the meeting of the Massachusetts School Building Authority board of directors at its headquarters in Boston on Wednesday.

Superintendent of schools Steven M. Lamarche and School committee member Christopher Hyldburg attended the meeting. “If we meet all of the requirements for the eligibility period, we can move on to a feasability study. There are many steps to take. Mr. Hyldburg and I learned a lot about the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s process. If everything aligns, the actual work for Peebles would not begin until 2020,” Mr. Lamarche said.

“I’m delighted that the board has voted the James F. Peebles Elementary School into the eligibility period. We look forward to working collaboratively with Bourne officials to develop the best solution to meet the town’s educational needs in a fiscally responsible manner,” said state treasurer Steven Grossman, chairman of the Massachusetts School Building Authority.

The vote initiates the 270-day eligibility period for Bourne Schools to complete certain preliminary requirements necessary to move forward in the grant funding process.

Successfully completing the preliminary requirements to the satisfaction of the school building authority at any time within the 270-day eligibility period, would make the Peebles project eligible to receive an invitation from the authority board of directors for next steps in the process, the feasibility study phase.

“The eligibility period is a critical step in the [authority]’s process of evaluating potential work on the James F. Peebles Elementary School. We look forward to our continued partnership with the district as it enters the eligibility period,” said Massachusetts School Building Authority executive director John K. McCarthy.

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