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Finances

Total Project Budget:
  • Not to exceed $68.4 million.​

  • Includes all project expenses from start to finish, including labor, materials, overhead, furniture, fixtures, technology, and “soft costs” for all aspects of the project, including construction of the new fields and courts, as well as demolition of the existing building.  The size of the building is 144,948 square feet.

  • 19% lower than original proposal of $84.3 million, achieved through reduction of building size and other cost-saving measures.

 

State Reimbursement:

  • Approved for at least $16.2 million, up to $18.1 million.​

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  • $16.2 million is based on the State reimbursing the town for 35% of “eligible costs.” If the project achieves the energy efficiencies currently included in the plans, reimbursement could rise to as much as 39%, or $18.1 million.

  • Expenses eligible for state reimbursement are determined by RIDE.  A primary criteria for reimbursement is if the expense is linked to our program of studies.  It is possible for some expenses to be bond eligible, yet not reimbursable by the state. 

  • Amount of State reimbursement is determined by formulas based on maximum enrollment and square footage, plus a per-student allocation for furniture, fixtures and equipment (FFE), and technology.  It should be noted that at the time of project approval these formulas are based on substantially dated costs.

Municipal Bond:

  • On November 8, 2016, voters approved a referendum on a 25-year municipal bond to finance the project.

  • Interest rate for the bond is 3.08%, . 

  • The estimated impact on the residential property tax rate would be $1.12 per $1,000. For a home valued at $400,000, that represents an additional $448 a year, or about $37 per month. 

 

  • Payments on the bond that financed the Barrington High School project, which total $670,000 annually, will be removed from the town’s debt list in 2020. Preliminary estimates indicate that could allow the residential property tax rate to be reduced two years from now by as much as 24 cents per $1,000.

  • The Town Council voted unanimously on January 9, 2017, to (1) approve construction of the new middle school at a cost not to exceed $68.4m; (2) exceed the tax cap in order to finance the bond; and (3) schedule a Special Financial Town Meeting (7 p.m. in the High School Auditorium), solely about the middle school project, for residents to vote on exceeding the tax cap.

  • At the Special Financial Town Meeting on March 16, 2017, residents voted 590-349 to approve lifting the tax cap increase to finance the project.

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How do these project costs compare?

Because of the moratorium on funding for school building projects in Rhode Island over the past several years, there are no truly comparable recent projects in the state to benchmark costs.

 

The last schools built before the moratorium were constructed at lower costs, in part because of the recession at the time, and because construction costs have risen annually since then more sharply than the rate of inflation.

 

In Massachusetts, ten new middle schools were approved with a project start date on or after January 1, 2014, with total project costs ranging from $44.5 million to $110.7 million, and from $415 to $609 per square foot.

 

The Barrington Middle School project, with a $68.4 million total budget, and $480 per square foot, falls at the lower end of those ranges.