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Newton’s Countryside school plan enters ‘senior study’ phase for state funding

City Hall in Newton
City Hall in NewtonJim Davis/Globe Staff

The Massachusetts School Building Authority has taken a closer look at a proposed project for Newton’s Countryside Elementary School, Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said in a statement.

The state agency selected the school for a “senior study,” which is an early step forward in its review process that will examine factors such as the physical condition of the building, whether there is overcrowding, and enrollment projections, Fuller said.

“This step does not mean that Countryside has, or will be, selected to be partially funded by the MSBA, but it moves us one step closer to that potential outcome,” Fuller said in the statement, which was released earlier this month.

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The results of the agency’s review and a decision on whether to move forward in the process is anticipated around May through July of this year, Fuller said.

During that period, the city would be expected to establish a building committee and follow other steps in the process, Fuller said.

“If Countryside is selected to move forward with the MSBA, the process will take many years of planning and study as well as decisions about funding sources before construction would begin,” Fuller said.

The school is near the site of an approved mixed-use development by Northland Investment Corp. in Newton Upper Falls that has the potential to add about 165 additional students to the building.

As a result, enrollment at Countryside could come close to its current capacity, the city’s school department told state officials in a statement of interest filed about a year ago.

The school has an enrollment of 369 students during the 2020-2021 academic year, according to the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The city has also filed a statement of interest for a project at the city’s Franklin Elementary School, Fuller said. Each of the projects would cost an estimated $50 million.

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“While the pandemic has created many challenges, it also provides opportunities to work on long-range capital plans such as this,” Fuller said. “We know that Countryside is only one of many capital needs in Newton, and we look forward to working with the City Council, School Committee, and the community as we continue to invest in our buildings and infrastructure.”



John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.