Press Release for Schematic Design

The district officially enters the Schematic Design phase.
Blue print image of proposed new SST HS builing.

Press Release

Thomas J. Hickey, Ed.D.
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For Immediate Release
April 25, 2024

At its April 24, 2024 Board of Directors meeting, the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) voted to authorize the South Shore Regional Vocational School District to move to the next phase of its high school construction project. The district officially enters the Schematic Design phase, where its project team will continue to develop detailed plans for a proposed new 900 student building at its 476 Webster Street campus in Hanover.

In response to the approval, Superintendent Director Tom Hickey said, “South Shore Tech is very excited to enter the next phase of this project, and look forward to providing a cost-effective building that will meet the growing demands of vocational technical education in our region for generations to come. Along with our other 12 vocational programs, offering new programming such as Plumbing and Veterinary Science will further strengthen the local and regional economy.”

School Building Committee Chair Bob Heywood, who also serves as Hanover‘s representative to the SST School Committee, recognizes that school construction projects are expensive. “While there is never a perfect financial time for such projects, South Shore has served students since 1962 and it is the second oldest regional vocational school in Massachusetts. Its infrastructure and systems need attention.  We have a waiting list that is only growing and we have expanded our district to include the town of Marshfield in an effort to share costs. We look forward to having a quality design ready for further review by the MSBA in the fall.”

The district will be hiring a construction manager in May to help with the final schematic design. A construction manager will provide suggestions for more cost-effective ways to construct the building.

The new three-story building would be constructed on the school's current athletic fields in the back of its property. The building layout includes a simple main hallway with mostly shops on the first floor and streamlines security measures for the public to have access to the school's restaurant and salon. Any ofthe common spaces in development are going to serve multiple purposes, including a small auditorium that has retractable seats.

More project details are available and updated regularly on the project website Hickey urged residents to check out the website: “The district is committed to providing preliminary tax impact projections for our towns, and while the amounts won’t be finalized until Fall 2024 we know it is important for taxpayers to have a sense of impacts at the town and household level early in the process.” Where does the project go from here?

  • April-August 2024: The designers will complete the Schematic Design phase, making revisions along the way and submitting the proposed design and budget in late August
  • August-October 2024: MSBA reviews Schematic Design Submission
  • October 30, 2024: MSBA Board approval, if on track, will include final total project budget and precise amounts of the MSBA grant for the project.
  • January 25, 2025: Districtwide ballot question to determine local support for the project.  “Districtwide” means that all the votes are tallied and combined from each town and the total number of yes and total number of no votes are compared to determine the outcome.

In terms of how district communities will fund the project if approved in January 2025, Hickey points out: “Each town will determine how to fund the project. My sense is that most of our communities will suggest a debt exclusion approach, but that is a local decision. We stand ready to provide information as often as we need to keep residents in our district towns fully informed.”

As of now, the project is estimated at $284 million, with about $100 million in state subsidy expected, bringing the anticipated local share to around $174 million. Using these preliminary projections, it would put the first year of interest-only borrowing, FY26, at about $700,000 shared between the 9
towns. The amounts will increase for FY27-FY29 when entering the construction phase, with about 60% bonding in FY27, 90% bonding in FY28, and 100% bonding in FY29. If this all goes to plan the new South Shore Tech would open for the 2028-2029 school year.

Separate from this MSBA process, and prior to a project vote in January 2025, the district school committee is making plans to bring a regional agreement amendment to the member towns in Fall 2024 to change how debt shares are apportioned, moving from a fixed amount to a four year rolling average based on actual student enrollment. “The idea is that a ‘pay as you go model’ reflecting gradual changes in enrollment is a more fair system of apportioning debt shares over a 30 year period,” Hickey said.