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    MIDDLEBOROUGH

    Town voters asked to pay for new high school

    A special Town Meeting will decide whether to spend almost $103.6 million to demolish Middleborough High School and build a new one – with the expectation of the state picking up 44 percent of the cost.

    If the Oct. 2 special Town Meeting approves the measure -- a two-thirds vote is required -- a majority of voters must agree at a special town election on Nov. 4 to override Proposition 2 ½ borrowing limits for the project to move forward.

    Officials estimate that borrowing for the project would add $391 a year on average to the property taxes of the average Middleborough home assessed at $297,300 – with the amount varying over the years of the loan from $249 to $533 annually.

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    Rob Desrosiers, chairman of the Middleborough High School Building Committee, said the current high school was built in 1967 and has numerous problems. He said the building isn’t handicapped accessible, has interior classrooms without natural light or ventilation, and its plumbing, electrical, and mechanical systems are “at the end of their useful life.”

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    In addition, many classrooms don’t meet modern standards and aren’t designed for today’s teaching styles, he said.

    “Just bringing the building up to code is a $65 million process, and it wouldn’t address the educational concerns,” he said. And the state would not reimburse that cost, he said.

    The committee is holding an information session on the proposal at Oak Point Community Center on Sept. 27 at 7 p.m., and another at John T. Nichols Middle School on Sept. 28 at 6:30 p.m.

    The special Town Meeting is scheduled for Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. in the high school.

    Johanna Setlz can be reached at seltzjohanna@gmail.com.