What It Takes to Build a New School: Nashoba Moves Forward With Planning Process

After MSBA approved NRSD’s statement of interest, planning for a school renovation or new construction is underway at Nashoba



Nashoba Regional High School looks to the future and what means for students and teachers.

Grace Fiori, Chief Editor

As the education system, and the curriculum that upholds it, evolves rapidly to accommodate the modern needs of the future student, the classroom still plays an important role in providing the resources and opportunities for students to receive a comprehensive education. These beliefs have been at the forefront of recent discussions within the Nashoba community about whether or not Nashoba will take strides to renovate, or completely rebuild, the high school in Bolton. 

The MSBA, the Massachusetts School Building Association, is part of the state Treasury responsible for managing public schools’ repair and reconstruction. Their efforts are essentially funded by one cent of every one dollar provided to the state through sales tax. 

Nashoba has submitted requests to be reviewed for renovations previously, and in 2019 the NRSD statement of interest was approved. The MSBA only accepted eleven schools this year to begin the preliminary process. 

Now, Nashoba has begun organizing the initial steps and materials needed to begin the process of constructing the Educational and Enrollment profile for the high school. The educational profile outlines the curriculum and educational programs employed and in development at Nashoba. It will also lay out projections for Nashoba’s enrollment in the years to come.

A concise educational profile is key to developing the building designs that can meet the needs of Nashoba students and support the curriculum, especially at the rapid pace it is evolving with new technology and educational standards. Compiling the profile is a key step in the first phase of the MSBA process.

Following the December 2019 approval of the MSBA board, June first will mark the start of the Eligibility phase. Nashoba then has until February of 2021 to compile all necessary components and materials, including compliance certification, the educational profile, and compiling a School Building Committee. 

The School Building Committee will be a sub-committee of NRSD’s School Committee responsible for various aspects of the process, holding public meetings as they organize and direct the reconstruction or renovation process. School Building Committees are typically made up of community members, administrators, parents, and teachers. 

By the end of the Eligibility phase, the school must put the proposal to a vote among the three towns. Nashoba must get approval from Stow, Bolton, and Lancaster in order to move on to the next stage of the process. The next phase, defining the scope and developing designs, can take as long as a year and a half to two years, as the district develops a feasibility study and settles on a design. Another district-wide vote will be required at the end of this period when the three towns approve funding for the building project. 

It is important to note that this is a long term project, from approval by MSBA to the completion of construction, there is the possibility that the project could take five to six years for completion. Student input will be highly valued and incorporated throughout the process, including when formulating the educational profile, establishing the school building committee, and during the feasibility study. Different ways to gain student input are still being developed as the best ways to communicate are established.