MUST-READ: Town Manager Jeff Hull Provides Update On New Wildwood, Senior Center & Town Hall/School Administration Building Projects

Below is a message from Town Manager Jeff Hull:

Dear residents,

The Board of Selectmen is expected to call for a Special Town Meeting on March 8, 2022 to start at 7:00 p.m. in the high school auditorium specifically to seek an appropriation to conduct a feasibility study to replace the Wildwood Early Childhood Center.  Wilmington was invited into the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) grant program which would cover a portion of the design and construction costs of a new school building.  In order to remain eligible for this grant the Town must appropriate funds through a Special Town Meeting vote by or before March 28, 2022 for this study.

We understand that there are questions and some confusion regarding the various building committees, projects and studies currently underway. To provide clarification, the town of Wilmington is considering the replacement of the Wildwood Early Childhood Center, the Buzzell Senior Center and the Town Hall and Roman House. These are three separate projects.

Wildwood Early Childhood Center

The Town has the opportunity to have a portion of the design and construction costs of a new school or modification costs to existing schools paid for by the state.  The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) is the sole state grant issuing authority for funding rehabilitation of existing schools or new school construction.  Wilmington has been invited into the grant program and is currently in the very first phase of consideration for grant funding; this is referred to as the “Eligibility Period.”  For the Town to advance to the next phase of the MSBA program the Town must appropriate funds to conduct a feasibility study to examine options for replacing the Wildwood School.  Since the Town’s MSBA “Eligibility Period” will expire on March 28, 2022, the Town must appropriate those funds before that date which is why the Board of Selectmen are expected to call a special town meeting for March 8, 2022 to begin at 7:00 p.m. in the high school auditorium.  If funding is approved, an Owners Project Manager (OPM) who serves as the Town’s representative and an architect would be hired to examine options including replacement of the Wildwood School building with another building to accommodate pre-kindergarten and kindergarten or consolidating grades such as establishing a pre-kindergarten to grade 3 school or a pre-kindergarten to grade 5 school.  The expectation is that replacement of the Wildwood School will take 5 to 7 years working with the MSBA.

For more information on the Wildwood School project, please visit: https://www.wpsk12.com/our_district/facilities/school_building_projects.

New Senior Center Project and New Town Hall and School Administration Building Project

Work is also ongoing to determine the best site to locate a new senior center and a combined town hall and school administration building.  These are two separate projects which both received approval at the 2020 annual Town Meeting for funding to complete feasibility studies and schematic designs.  Once the Board of Selectmen endorse a site for each of these two buildings, the architect will conduct an extensive evaluation of the site with respect to the presence of ledge, groundwater table, wetlands and other factors that would influence the location of the building on the site.  Additionally, the architect will continue developing the design of each building with respect to interior rooms, HVAC, plumbing, life safety system etc. and preparing cost estimates for construction.  At present the earliest these two projects would be ready for appropriation of funding for final design and construction would be a special town meeting in the Fall of 2022.

Plans call for the use of free cash and capital stabilization funds to reduce the amount of borrowing required to cover the cost of construction for each project.  The Senior Center Building Committee and the Town/School Administration Building Committee are expected to meet regularly over the next several months with each committee meeting on alternating Wednesdays at the Town Hall beginning at 6:00 p.m. The next meeting of the Town/School Administration Building Committee is scheduled for January 5, 2022.

For more information on each project including upcoming meetings, newsletters with updates on each project, links to our Facilities Master Plan and more, please visit the following sites:

Senior Center Building Committee – https://www.wilmingtonma.gov/senior-center-building-committee

Town Hall/School Administration Building Committee – https://www.wilmingtonma.gov/town-hall-school-admin-building-committee

We encourage residents to explore these pages, learn about each project, watch committee meetings and get involved in these projects.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey M. Hull

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