Status Update on NAMS Request to MSBA for Building Renovation Project

posted Dec 19, 2018, 8:23 AM by Jorge Goncalves

North Andover Middle School MSBA Statement of interest Status Update: December 18, 2018

We have recently been notified by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (the “MSBA”) that our 2018 Statement of Interest (the “SOI”) submission for our middle school expansion has been reviewed and North Andover Middle School will not be invited into the MSBA's Eligibility Period at this time.

Overall, the MSBA received 70 SOIs from 56 different school districts for consideration in 2018. In reviewing SOIs, the MSBA identifies the school facilities that have the greatest and most urgent need based on an assessment of the entire cohort of SOIs that are received for consideration each year.

The Town of North Andover remains committed to collaborating and partnering with the MSBA and will be working closely with them to refile this Spring. It is important to note that it often takes communities three to four submissions (this was our 2nd submission supported by both the Board of Selectmen & School Committee) to the MSBA for approval to move forward in the MSBA eligibility pipeline. As Superintendent and Town Manager, we are committed to our District’s goals of reducing class size and providing the best spaces possible for teachers to teach and students to learn. For additional information see below.


Dr. Gregg T. Gilligan, Superintendent

Andrew Maylor, Town Manager

NAMS  Expansion Information & the MSBA

As many of you may know, we are concerned about the large class sizes at the Middle School, which average 24.6 students per  class - the largest in the district. We are also worried about the antiquated science labs. We believe that a renovation to the existing structure makes the most sense, possibly building a Science wing and converting the existing Science labs into regular classrooms.  This would allow us to add the additional classrooms needed to increase the number of teams at each grade level. Of course, the exact plan would need to be studied and vetted.

The SOI is the first step in the MSBA’s application process. Submittal of an SOI does not commit a community to the project, nor does acceptance of the SOI commit the MSBA to approving and funding the project.  An SOI is simply the process for a community to identify a problem to the MSBA by specifying the deficiencies present in a given building.

The MSBA rates the SOIs received based on the severity of the deficiencies specified. In an average year, the MSBA will receive 80-90 SOI’s and will usually invite less than 20% of these into the eligibility period. Many districts re-submit an SOI on the same project without ever getting invited into the eligibility period. The number of times a project is submitted does not weigh on the decision to move it forward. Each submittal  is strictly rated based on the severity of the problem relative to the other projects submitted that year. Additional information on the MSBA process, SOI submittals and a complete list of current projects can be found on the Massachusetts School Building Authority's website.

It is important to understand that the process is long even for those projects that are invited into the eligibility period. Communities are given 9 months to complete the eligibility requirements, 12 months to form the project team, 24 months to complete the feasibility study and schematic design, 4 months to obtain the funding, 12 months to complete final design, and then however long construction takes. This is up to 5 years before construction even starts, in addition to your construction time. In general, the timeline from acceptance of an SOI to moving into a building is 6 ½ to 7 years, and that assumes the SOI is accepted in the first year.  Overall costs of the project are often impacted by the added requirements MSBA may have for the project and by inflation in construction costs that occur from year to year while the project is being worked through this process.

All of these factors have to be taken into account when considering whether or not to complete a project through the MSBA process, but the only way to consider the MSBA process as an option is by submitting an SOI.