The city council gave a partial endorsement Tuesday of renovations to Medford High School science labs that will cost at total $10 million to $13 million.
Project managers showed three options to the council for the overhaul, which will receive 60 percent funding from the state through a grant. But instead of choosing a preferred option, the council decided to unanimously vote in favor of “the spirit of the project” during a committee of the whole meeting Tuesday night at City Hall.
The proposed options hadn’t been brought to the school committee yet, and it irked some councilors to be asked to vote on it before it went through the committee.
“We’ve been told by the Mayor that this project has the support of the school committee,” Councilor Paul Camuso said. “But there’s a pretty big disparity (between options).”
Superintendent Roy Belson said things have come together with the project quickly over the last couple of weeks, and the project is on a rigorous schedule to meet standards for the grant. Project managers will meet with the state’s school building association next week and will be expected to have some sort of local approval, Belson said.
“If we don’t give some indication of support of this project, we’re going to get killed,” Belson said.
The figures are significantly higher than originally anticipated. Belson said he original gave estimations of around $5 million for the project, but those proved to be far too low.
City Councilors Michael Marks and Breanna Lungo-Koehn both said they would like to see less costly options.
Before calling for a vote on the “spirit” of the project, Council President Robert Maiocco told Belson the project should have gone before the school committee first.
“This process is bad,” he said.