METRO WEST DAILY NEWS — The City Council has agreed to float a $56.4 million bond to pay for a new elementary school project on Poirier Road.
The council passed the measure Monday on an 8-2 vote. One member was absent.
The two dissenting votes came from Ward 7 Councilor Donald Landers and Ward 4 Councilor Robert Tunnera.
During the meeting, Tunnera said he “didn’t like the idea of taking away this property” in reference to the athletic field site where the school will be constructed. He said putting grade-school students near high school students was “an accident waiting to happen” and that he hadn’t met any residents in favor of the project.
Landers argued the property is not a good fit and “very inadequate” for the city’s needs.
“I personally feel very strongly that we’re doing a disservice to the community, the parents and the students for the next 50 years,” he said. “I think we could do better than spending $56 million on that site.”
He said he is worries that the reimbursement money the city will receive from the Massachusetts School Building Authority will not be enough.
At-Large Councilor Michael Ossing countered those arguments, saying the new school will have more space overall on its campus for features like parking spaces and play areas.
Ward 3 Councilor Christian Dumais, an alumnus of the Marlborough elementary school system, said the town needs a new school to accommodate students’ needs “right now.”
The broad outlines and schematics of the school are currently complete, but the design still needs to be finalized and fine-tuned by an architect before putting out a bid package for contractors this fall.
Site preparation work will begin in June and construction is expected to begin next year, with the aim of completing construction in June 2020. The new school is projected to open in the fall of 2020.
The athletic field on Bolton Street will also be redone as part of the construction project.
This article by Lian Parsons originally appeared here.