What additional operational costs will there be relating to the new elementary school? Is there an estimate of operational cost savings delivered by energy or other efficiencies built into the facility? Are there additional operational costs incurred for staffing or new programming that will increase the annual school budget?
The maintenance costs for the existing Foster Elementary School are significant. Specific training of the custodians is needed to maintain the aging boilers.
The heating system in general, as well as plumbing, and electrical systems, require constant repairs, most notably in connection with the aging electrical system and failing steam pipe distribution infrastructure.
The building is often too hot or too cold at various times of the year depending on several factors. At times, the students have been evacuated due to failing heat and other infrastructure issues. During the height of the COVID pandemic, because there was inadequate ventilation in several classrooms, St. Jerome, a closed catholic grade school, was leased to house portions of Foster’s grade levels. Students were bussed to Weymouth daily for months to attend “Foster North.” This was a costly and unfavorable situation that could not be avoided.
Though the new school will be 75% larger than Foster is currently, the ‘cost per square foot’ of utilities for the new school will be less than it has been over the past three years (not including FY 2020 which was COVID-related), AND it includes much greater ventilation and full air-conditioning which will have a positive impact on learning during the fall and spring when temperatures outside can be quite high.
In terms of changes in staffing needs for the new building, to the extent that there is new special education programming, then staffing related to the new programs will be needed. No other significant changes are expected at this time. As enrollment grows as expected over time, additional teachers may be needed and consideration of that would be part of the regular annual budget process and not driven by this project specifically.