In the MSBA regulations there are certain costs that are ineligible for reimbursement with grant dollars. For instance, the MSBA defines any construction cost above $360/square foot as ineligible for reimbursement, but the construction costs for the elementary schools approved by the MSBA over the past five years have averaged well over that threshold. The MSBA also limits its reimbursement participation for site work to 8% of the building construction cost. Given its unique physical characteristics, the Foster project is unusual in that it will require much more site work than all but five of the last thirty-eight elementary schools funded by the MSBA over the past five years. Only about a quarter of the required site costs for this project will be eligible for reimbursement since they exceed 8% of the building cost by a wide margin.
This project does include a number of other ineligible cost items (e.g., the cost of technology and furnishings that exceed the reimbursable allowances for these categories), but these are consistent with every other school building project undertaken under the MSBA core building program and are appropriate to accommodate Hingham’s educational program.
Though the school has been designed primarily to meet the needs of the educational program, it also allows for use as community space. For example, the gym includes space to accommodate bleacher seating, which is not a reimbursable expense but allows for its use by the community. SBC discussed at some length lessons learned from prior school building projects in Hingham. There have been complaints for 13 years about the shallow sideline space and limited bleacher seating available in the East Elementary gym. Providing for the additional space will better serve the intended uses by students and the larger community.
Another example of a potentially non-reimbursable cost would be the cost of the demolition of the existing school If we were able to build on a different site (which doesn’t exist), If we were to build in another location, any acquisition cost for the land would also not be reimbursable by MSBA. These would be additional non-reimbursable costs to the Hingham taxpayer in addition to the costs of the school and site development. As part of the contemplated project being pursued, the demolition of the existing Foster school will be fully reimbursable to the extent of Hingham’s approved reimbursement rate.