The Massachusetts School Building Authority voted last week to commit $53.5 million to the city of Lynn and the new Thurgood Marshall Middle School proposal, just two weeks after Lynn voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot question authorizing the City to borrow money to pay for its portion of the proposed $92 million school project.
The vote by MSBA helps to advance the new school project through the state school building system, locks in the amount of money that the state has committed to pay for “allowable costs” and helps get the city ready for a potential constructions schedule that could begin in the spring or summer of 2014 and last up to two years.
The new school proposal would build a 182,000 square foot school, capable of accommodating up to 1,100 students on land that sits between Brookline Street and the Commuter Rail tracks and would replace a 90-year old school that is currently services half that number of students on Porter Street.
Elements of the new school plan include a rooftop outdoor playground that would be built above a wing that houses gymnasium and cafeteria facilities, an educational plan that would organize the school into clusters for sixth through eighth grade students and parking at the Empire Street side of the property.
The $53.5 million represents approximately 80-percent of what are considered “allowable costs” for the project, but elements of the project that are not approved as part of the allowable costs by the MSBA – such as the rooftop playground area – have to be paid for completely by the city.
Other costs that are not included as allowable costs for the purpose of the MSBA reimbursement include initial project planning expenses and land acquisition costs.
City and school officials also confirmed this week that the new school will be built on pilings, to ensure that the building does not sink or settle, as happened with the new Lynn Classical High School, when it was built 16 years ago.
Soil conditions on the site will require pilings to ensure that the building will be stable.