Cost & Funding

Arlington is partnering with the Massachusetts State Building Authority (MSBA) to rebuild the high school. The project budget is $290.8 million, of which Arlington will pay $204.8 million, and the MSBA will fund ~$86 million. 

Why does the project cost so much?

The project costs $291M because it is a high school. High schools are expensive, and construction costs are rising. Additionally the AHS site adds to the cost because of its small size and contamination. Read more

How does the AHS project cost compare with other local high school projects?

The costs for the project are in line with costs projected for other local high school construction projects including Belmont and Somerville. Read more.

What cost cutting measures have been taken thus far?

During the Schematic Design phase, the Building Committee cut millions of dollars from the project, by judicious initial design choices, by removing town offices from the high school, and by value engineering. MSBA reimbursement has also been maximized. Read more

What is the impact for taxpayers?

The property tax impact for the average condo will be approximately $500, and for the average single family home will be approximately $800, phased in over the next several years. Read more

What is value engineering?

Value engineering is the process of comparing alternatives and their associated costs, and making choices to keep the project within budget, without sacrificing educational priorities. It is an exercise that all construction projects use and it is required by the MSBA for all projects no matter how the project cost estimate compares to the budget. Read more

Background

Arlington’s financial partner is the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), and the Town is following MSBA’s precise process in order to reduce taxpayer impact and take advantage of state funding for approximately one-third of the total cost of the project. At the end of the Schematic Design phase, the project budget was reduced $17.2M from the original Feasibility Study estimate of $308M to arrive at a final project budget of $290.8M.

On April, 2019, the MSBA voted on the full project including $83.4 million in reimbursement.  This value does not include the $2.6 million of contingencies’ funds that will potentially be reimbursed during the next phase of the project.

As dictated by the state’s process, Arlington’s reimbursement from the MSBA cannot be increased and the total cost of the project cannot exceed the total overall budget without local approval. The total project budget contains several contingencies to mitigate various risks as the project moves forward. The project will also use the Construction Manager at Risk delivery method which will further reduce Arlington’s overall risk.

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