Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This fall, an important vote will occur regarding the Beal School, which opened in 1922 as a Junior/Senior High School. Over the past 96 years, no major renovations have been made to the building, which currently serves as an Early Childhood Center. The Beal School building faces critical infrastructure and system issues, has no working mechanical ventilation system to bring in fresh air from the outside, no sprinkler system, lacks appropriate spaces for learning, and provides challenges for those with mobility needs.
In March of 2016, the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) invited the Beal Early Childhood Center into the Eligibility Period, a critical step in the MSBA’s process of evaluating potential projects for state funding support.
Based on student enrollment data and growth projections, and after holding two public hearings and conducting a town-wide public survey, the Shrewsbury School Committee voted to pursue plans for a new K-4 school on October 25, 2017. The proposed 790 student elementary school will relieve overcrowding and provide parity across all elementary schools. It also includes the classroom space required for the District to offer universal full day kindergarten for all students.
The Beal Building Committee includes Selectman Jim Kane as Committee Chair, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Sawyer, Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations Patrick Collins, Building Superintendent Bob Cox, Town Manager Kevin Mizikar, School Committee member Sandra Fryc, Beal Principal Chris Girardi and two members of the community with experience in construction, Erin Boucher and John Masiello. The Committee evaluated three options for the new elementary school – renovating the existing Beal school, building a new school on the same site, and building a new school on an alternate site.
Community Supporters for Beal believes that a new building is the best investment for the taxpayers of Shrewsbury, and we ask for your support and your vote for this important community project.
This is a fiscally responsible project. The School Department, the School Committee, and the Beal Building Committee balanced the town’s fiscal realities and the students’ educational needs and proposed this solution.
As with the Sherwood Middle School project, this is a shared investment. The MSBA will reimburse Shrewsbury for a percentage of the project cost if approved by the voters in an election planned for this fall. Shrewsbury taxpayers will not begin paying for Beal until 2024, when payments for Shrewsbury High School, renovations at Spring Street School, and Parker Road Preschool come off the debt service.
If the question fails, Shrewsbury taxpayers will bear the entire cost burden of completing basic renovations to the existing building, universal full day kindergarten will not be possible and overcrowding at all of our elementary schools will persist.
Beth Casavant and Jason Palitsch, Campaign Co-Chairs
On Behalf of the Community Supporters for Beal Advisory Committee
Kathy Curran McSweeney
Roop Jyot Kaur