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FRAMINGHAM

Framingham to vote on tax increase for new school

Framingham voters next month will consider a property tax increase for the proposed construction of a new Fuller Middle School.

At a Dec. 11 special election, residents will be asked to approve a debt exclusion to pay for the city’s share of the estimated $98.3 million building plan. The project took a major step forward Oct. 31 when the Massachusetts School Building Authority agreed to help fund the construction.

By a unanimous vote, the authority board agreed to reimburse the district for about 62 percent of the project’s eligible costs, or up to $39.45 million, leaving the city’s estimated share at $58.8 million.

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The action followed a unanimous vote by the City Council the previous day authorizing funding for the project subject to passage of the debt exclusion, which would add $101 to the on average annual tax bill of an average residential taxpayer over 20 years.

The project, which now moves to final design, calls for construction of a new 630-student sixth-to-eighth grade school on Flagg Drive next to the site of the existing facility, which would be demolished, according to David Miles, cochairman of the School Building Committee.

Officials say the current 60-year-old school suffers from such issues as outmoded electrical and plumbing systems, structural erosion, deficiencies with its roof and windows, inadequate access for people with disabilities, and a layout that does not meet the needs of a modern middle school.

The plan for the new three-story school calls for a learning commons/cafeteria at the core surrounded by balconies fronting a perimeter of classrooms, an 8,300-square-foot gymnasium, and a 420-seat auditorium.


John Laidler can be reached at laidler@globe.com.