Council Approves 'Spirit' of 8-Figure High School Science Lab Overhaul

Project will cost $10 to $13 million.

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.

Pete Harmon August 10, 2012 at 04:53 AM
"Council Approves 'Spirit' of 8-Figure High School Science Lab Overhaul" What the heck does voting for" the spirit" of something mean? I thought you took a vote to approve or disapprove something. "The city council gave a partial endorsement" Did they approve partial monies or as usual did they debate this for hours and in the end this "spirit vote" means nothing?
Isabelle August 10, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Maybe the City Council is listening to the taxpayers that we don’t want to be bilked out of any more of our money. So its on the school commitees back to stick it to the taxpayers for more funding we don’t have.That 60 percent reimbursment is our tax money as well as the millions we’ll have to bond for the rest of it. Wheres the department of eds investigation? We should know the results of that before we spend millions more on these schools. Maybe Belson can enlighten us at the upcoming meeting. If they need a little money for accredition then it should be the bare minimum until we know whats going on. The streets in the city look like the surface of the moon and we have condemmed city buildings. This started out as a 2 mil proposal and has skyrocketed. Somethings fishy.
Pete Harmon August 10, 2012 at 03:19 PM
"Maybe the City Council is listening to the taxpayers that we don’t want to be bilked out of any more of our money." Then why did they pass a budget that increased taxes?
Isabelle August 10, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Your right 4 of them couldn’t pass the budget through fast enough. Though the school committee should have to take some of the heat for this bond if its what they want. The smell in this city needs to be addressed from our sewers and our buildings and potholes are life threatening. We need some proirities here. Our politicians are completely out of touch with the reality of the dire straights this country is in. Many Medford citizens are truly hurting and they don’t care.
Medford Taxpayer August 15, 2012 at 02:53 PM
I want our schools to have good science labs, but are they building the countertops out of solid gold? $10 million to $13 million for rehabbing science labs? How are they possibly spending this much in our high school? Building a new school science lab should cost $300,000. Does the high school have 35 science labs?


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