What is the value of rebuilding the Foster School to people who either don’t live in the Foster district or don’t have children in the Hingham Public Schools?

Investing in our schools benefits the entire community. Community engagement is a shared responsibility in raising the next generation and according to the US Department of Education, school building infrastructure components are crucial for learning. Additionally, schools provide public common space, accessible for public meetings, voting, emergency shelters, and are available for use by community groups and organizations for programs and events held after school hours. The Foster school is, and will continue to be, an anchor for the Crow Point neighborhood and the greater north Hingham community. Good public schools, like we have in Hingham, are valuable for more than just the curriculum they deliver.  They help sustain property values and entice new families to join the community.  Finally, capital investments in buildings and infrastructure create lasting benefits to a community and to society in general, particularly when those investments help close achievement gaps and help bring members of a community together. 

The School Building Committee (SBC) recognizes that there is a need for space for various community events, including athletic contests, artistic performances and large group assemblies. The proposed building design will include a section of the school that will be available for public use during non-school hours. It includes a large gym with bleachers and a cafeteria with a stage for concerts, performances and other presentations.,  The site will include an athletic field, softball diamond, tennis courts and an accessible playground, all of which will be available to the public during non-school hours.

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1. What is the Foster School Building Project?
2. What is the Foster School Building Committee?
3. What is the MSBA?
4. What is the benefit of working with the MSBA?
5. How is our community included in this process?
6. What are the different phases of the project and how long will each phase, including construction, take?
7. What is the value of rebuilding the Foster School to people who either don’t live in the Foster district or don’t have children in the Hingham Public Schools?
8. When will the construction start and end? When would students be in the new school?
9. My child is at Foster. Will he/she need to move to a different school during construction?
10. What will happen to the athletic fields and tennis courts during construction?
11. Was a traffic study done? How will traffic be managed during construction?
12. How was the enrollment number determined? Does the new enrollment number allow for growth?
13. What is the potential base reimbursement rate from the MSBA for this project? How was the rate determined?
14. How will this new building support Hingham’s climate action planning efforts and the Town’s goal of reducing our fossil fuel use and carbon emissions?
15. I understand that Foster School is next to wetlands and in a flood zone. What will be done to mitigate the risk of flooding and protect the environmentally sensitive areas surrounding the school?
16. Is this a suitable time to build as construction costs have increased significantly since the middle school was built, and cost per square footage is far more than Public Safety building?
17. What costs does the MSBA not cover? Should we be adding components that have been excluded by MSBA? Is it prudent to build when costs are ineligible?
18. What will Foster look like compared to new elementary schools in surrounding towns? What is the square footage of new school and how does it compare to sq ft/ student at other schools in town (& MSBA
19. What additional operational costs will there be relating to the new elementary school? Is there an estimate of operational cost savings delivered by energy or other efficiencies built into the...
20. For tuition-based programming (i.e., KIA, etc.), if programming is increased, will costs be covered?
21. Would we look at redistricting the other elementary schools to ensure class sizes are comparable across the four elementary schools?
22. Will out-of-district tuition go down as a result of Special Ed programming at the new elementary school? Will additional SPED programming built into the facility enable more students to stay in...
23. Do we have to fully open at the opening of the new school or is it possible to increase over time, i.e., staffing and furniture/fixtures.
24. What process did you go through to determine the building configuration and placement on the site?
25. Is there a deeper explanation, other than inflation, of the cost estimate increase over the past 6 months even though the design is largely the same?