, Salem, MA

Local News

December 4, 2013

Middle school study sought

Mayor asks for $1.5M for conceptual design, feasibility report


Scanlon said moving fifth-graders to the middle school would free up space in the city’s five crowded elementary schools, which are currently kindergarten through fifth grade.

The city is forming a School Building Committee of volunteers to help with the planning of the new school, including the question of where to put fifth-graders. Scanlon said the School Committee, Mayor-elect Mike Cahill and members of the community will all be involved in the decision-making process.

“The community will be involved, because there is this basic question of whether it’s going to be a four-year school or a three-year school,” Scanlon said.

Both Scanlon and School Committee President Maria Decker, who teamed up to write the statement of interest that was accepted by the MSBA, will be out of office in a month. Scanlon is retiring; Decker lost her re-election bid.

Scanlon said it could take a year to 18 months to do the feasibility study and conceptual design. The city is hoping to have the new school ready for September 2017.

Officials say a new school is needed to replace Briscoe, a 1923 building that is in poor condition and overcrowded.

The city has estimated the cost of a new school at $73 million, with the city paying $33 million and the state paying $40 million. Scanlon said the exact cost and share percentage will be determined as the process goes along.

The state paid 58.4 percent of the cost of the $81 million high school that opened in 2010.

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or

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