WILMINGTON — Following six affirmative votes, the School Committee authorized the Town of Wilmington to submit Statement of Interest Forms for six individual (Massachusetts School Building Authority) MSBA core program grants, one for each elementary school in town. The Wildwood School has been identified as top priority for investment.
According to Brand, school consolidation is still being considered as a meaningful path for the town’s elementary schools.
“We believe that we have a number of facility needs, as it relates to our infrastructure and out aged facilities,” Brand said, noting also that across the grant program there are far more applications placed than can be accepted.
Brand noted that a priority project had to be identified, and advocated that the Wildwood School be that project. “The Wildwood, I believe, is in the worst condition and needs to have attention much sooner than later,” Brand said.
He noted that, even in a best case scenario, the general time frame for an MSBA grant ranges from 4-7 years until the new facility can be occupied. He suggested even this may not be adequate for the Wildwood School in particular.
“I do not think that the Wildwood School has anywhere close to that amount of time left,” he stated.
Brand recommended that the town secure a third party as a capital request to assist Wilmington in studying what other options on an interim measure would be available. This process would be slated for FY 2021. A key aspect of any investigation would be how the district would be reorganized and how students and staff would potentially be incorporated into other spaces, should the Wildwood School be unavailable for any set period of time.
In response to a question from committee member David Ragsdale, Brand noted that the committee had approved a request in the capital budget to go forward with this application process.
What an internal reorganization might be to incorporate students, staff into other spaces.
“Thank you for your support, and obviously we will cross our fingers and hopefully be able to put our best foot forward.”