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Town Meeting Passes Woodland School Project, Officials Talk Next Steps

The project will go to the Massachusetts School Building Authority for approval this March.

Members at Milford's Special Town Meeting on Monday night voted in favor of the long-discussed Woodland School project, town and school officials said Tuesday. 

Town Meeting voted in favor of both articles relating to the project, the first focusing on zoning and the second on the cost of the project, which is expected have a price tag of about $60.9 million, with the Massachusetts School Building Authority potentially footing about 43 percent in reimbursements. Milford's contribution would be about $34 million.

"Both articles on the school passed overwhelmingly," Milford Town Administrator Richard Villani said. "Personally, I thought it would pass. I was not surprised. I thought the school building committee did a very thorough job, and they should be commended for the work they did."

The first of the two articles passed on Monday looks to add a section to the existing zoning bylaw to allow school-related structures to be placed within 25 feet of adjoining residential properties, and also to allow for a taller height for public school buildings; the current height cap is 2.5 stories, while the proposed Woodland design features a three-story academic building. The second article focused on how to pay for the project, specifically looking at an article to appropriate, borrow or transfer the money for the construction of the new school.

Milford School Superintendent Robert Tremblay, for his part, said he was more than pleased and grateful for the support from the town to move forward with the project. 

"I'd like to say thank you to Town Meeting members and thank you to the taxpayers," Tremblay said. "This is the capstone project for a plan that's been in place for more than a decade and now we can realize this. We're just really excited."

As for what's next, the project will go to the MSBA for approval in March. 

"That's the next step, that's the next threshold," Villani said. "Then they get to work."

Currently the project is expected to break ground by the Spring of 2015, and after the town receives approval from the MSBA, it will take about six to eight months to work up the design plans, Tremblay said. 

A timeline for the project is expected to formulate later in March after the MSBA's vote, he added, and if all goes well, the new school should open for the 2016-2017 school year. 

Amazed by Milford February 11, 2014 at 10:49 AM
Was there any surprise in this vote? No of course not. Something so vital will get all the posh thrills, but no substance to improve our educational system across the board of all Milford schools. Oh well... Welcome to Milford.
Jennifer February 11, 2014 at 11:20 AM
so....the design plans they've been showing everyone for months are not THE design plans we're moving forward with? "and after the town receives approval from the MSBA, it will take about six to eight months to work up the design plans, Tremblay said. " ?
Michael Soares February 11, 2014 at 11:39 AM
The concept design and layout is completed but theres a lot of work left as far as blueprints and schematics go. Theres $6M budgeted for planning and design so I suppose thats what they are referring to. I dont imagine that the big picture is going to change from what they have shown us.

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