By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD — Local residents now have an easy, one-stop place where they can keep track of the new Wakefield Memorial High School building project. A new web site, wakefieldmhsproject.com, has been created to provide a project overview, history and continuous updates as the project moves forward.
The web site was created by LeftField, the owner’s project manager (OPM) that is managing the high school building project on behalf of the town.
The web site features a project history dating back to 1960, when the original school was built through 2016, when a comprehensive facilities assessment was completed, highlighting numerous physical building deficiencies. The most significant of those deficiencies related to the buildings envelope and lack of thermal insulation in the exterior walls, poor ventilation and air quality of the mechanical systems, outdated electrical and fire alarm systems, insufficient plumbing and large sections of the building that are not ADA compliant.
The overview chronicles the project’s eventual acceptance into the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s eligibility period in December of 2019 and the subsequent steps in the process.
The web site also offers a visual project timeline where residents can see the progress of the project in a more graphical format. Each entry in the timeline provides a link to more details for that particular step in the process.
A “Meetings/Events” tab provides a calendar where upcoming events, including Permanent Building Committee meetings, forums and other project-related events will be listed.
A “FAQ” section answers frequently asked questions, such as:
– What is the Wakefield Memorial High School Project?
– Why do we need a new High School?
– Who are the parties involved in the High School Project?
– What is the MSBA process?
– Where can I get more information?
– Who can I contact if I have any questions?
A “Document Library” collects the various pertinent documents related to the WMHS project.
The “Project Team” section of the web site discusses the players and their particular roles in the process.
There is a “Glossary of Terms” to help those unfamiliar with the lingo.
A 2016 a comprehensive facilities assessment of Wakefield Memorial High School identified numerous physical building challenges. The facilities assessment also highlighted programmatic constraints that hamper the High School’s ability to provide a learning environment consistent with the District’s Educational Program.
On April 9, 2019 the Town of Wakefield submitted a Statement of interest (SOI) to the Massachusetts School Building Authority. Submitting an SOI is the critical first step in the MSBA’s program for school building construction, addition/renovation and repair grants. The SOI allows districts to inform the MSBA about deficiencies that may exist in a local school facility and how those deficiencies inhibit the delivery of the district’s educational program.
School building projects that go through the MSBA program can be reimbursed by the state for approximately 50 percent of eligible costs.
On Dec. 16, 2019, following review of the SOI, the MSBA invited Wakefield Memorial High School into the Eligibility Period. Having fulfilled the preliminary requirements during the Eligibility Period, the MSBA subsequently invited WMHS to conduct a Feasibility Study. A Feasibility Study Agreement was executed by the MSBA and the Town of Wakefield on March 25, 2021.
Each section of the new web site will be continuously updated as the high school building project moves forward.