The W. Edward Balmer Elementary School Building Committee continues to work on developing options for the Balmer School’s future. Since the Town’s approval of the Feasibility Study funding last May, the Committee has been working closely with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), the state agency that oversees all school construction. In November, the MSBA, which will provide Northbridge a grant of up to 57.11% of the Feasibility Study costs, invited Northbridge into the grant program to develop a cost effective, sustainable and educationally appropriate solution to the aging Balmer School. The Committee has no preconceived solutions and they will investigate renovation, renovation and addition, and new construction options. Two grade configuration options, consolidating preschool through grade 5 on one campus and keeping grades 2-4 at the Balmer School with the younger grades at Northbridge Elementary School, will be studied. The Committee has hired the Owner’s Project Management firm, Symmes Maini & McKee Associates (SMMA) of Cambridge, MA to manage the Feasibility Study process. SMMA is a 170 person, integrated design and management firm specializing in school projects. The Committee’s next steps are to hire the Architectural firm, in collaboration with the MSBA, in early June and commence the educational visioning process.
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