Seekonk Considers New Middle School Building
The Hurley Middle School building needs to be replaced, says Seekonk School Superintendent Rebecca Kidwell.
The building’s heating system has been in constant need of repair.
Last September, a consultant for Colliers identified $15 million worth of needs for Hurley, including an HVAC system, roof replacement, and upgrade of the electrical service and distribution panels.
Kidwell said in addition to using school personnel to fix Hurley’s pipes, there have been calls made to 12 outside contractors to address the building’s heating problems.
“We are just patching and patching and patching and eventually you get to the point where the pipes won’t hold together because they’re all patches,” Kidwell said at the February 5 meeting.
$40,000 has been spent on repairs so far this academic year, Kidwell noted.
The school committee did not vote to send a statement of interest to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), which offers partial reimbursement to school districts for building projects.
Committee member Noah Escaler supports replacing the heating system at Hurley but draws the line at constructing a new building, which may cost upwards of $100 million.
“I’d like to go the less expensive route,” Escaler said. “Not to say that our students and teachers aren’t worth it, (but) we should be attacking the issue and fixing the issue at this point.”
Kidwell explained a shortage of space at Hurley as well as Aitken and Martin elementary schools was also a factor which needs to be considered.
“If we don’t go forward (with a new building) and we do replace the heating system at Hurley, there will still potentially have to be a grade reconfiguration,” Kidwell said, noting the plan may consist of moving the eighth grade students to Seekonk High School.
The district is also anticipating continued growth in the student population as more residential developments spring up in town.
Enrollments as of October 1, 2023 were:
- Hurley: 514 students, with most inclusion core classes around 20 students.
- Aitken: 575 students, with elementary classrooms around 20-22 students. 47 of the 575 are in pre-K.
- Martin: 446 students, with elementary classrooms around 18-22 students. There is no pre-K at Martin.
If the school committee does vote to send a statement of interest to the MSBA, the Select Board also has to vote to give their approval.
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