The middle school has been a major topic throughout the Mayoral campaign, with both Scanlon, and challenger Mike Cahill, agreeing that the project should be at the top of major initiatives for the city.
According to the News report:
Mayor Bill Scanlon told the School Committee Wednesday night that he will file a "statement of interest" with the Massachusetts School Building Authority seeking a state grant to help pay for the project, which has been estimated at $33 million.
The plans call for the expansion and renovation of the Memorial Building on Cabot Street into what Scanlon called "the middle school of the future." Scanlon said the MSBA began accepting new applications for school building projects on Oct. 3, and the city plans to submit its statement by the Jan. 11 deadline.
The Memorial site is seen as the preferable location for the renovated school, not just because the existing building is newer than Briscoe, but because the overall site encompasses 17-acres compared to Briscoe's six, allowing for a much more expansive "campus."
When the city's two middle schools were combined as a cost-cutting move in 2005, Briscoe was chosen because it was the larger of the two buildings. But the move was seen as temporary because the 100-year old building is, according to school committee member Paul Manzo, "a building that's way beyond its use."
In addition to whatever money can be secured from MSBA, Scanlon says that the city can now afford to finance its share of the project because it is close to retiring the debt from the elementary school renovation projects that were completed in the '90s.