Dear Neighbors of Hopkinton,
I write to express my wholehearted support for our town’s proposed construction of a new elementary school. As a dedicated advocate for educational programming, as parent of three students, and as a concerned citizen, I firmly believe that a “Yes” vote on the Elmwood School Project is crucial for the continued success of our community. In this letter, I aim to provide compelling factual information regarding key aspects of the Elmwood School Project.
While the estimated cost of the project is DAUNTING at $158 million, it’s essential to understand the breakdown. This figure encompasses both construction costs ($125 million) and soft costs ($34 million), including expenses like the feasibility study, furniture, technology, and contingency. The committee that has been working, in public meetings, for 2 years has identified ways to maximize the contribution from the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), totaling approximately $61million of eligible costs – taxpayer burden is down from $111 million expected to under $97 million as of a MSBA update from 10/25/23! It’s imperative to note that rejecting this project would result in the LOSS OF MSBA reimbursement, placing the TOTAL FINANCIAL burden on the Town of Hopkinton when there is funding available due to the years of work that has been done already by School/Town Administrators, the School Committee, and the Elmwood Building Commitee. The Town has been pursuing MSBA support since 2008 due to the space constraints and Elmwood being considered end of life.
Voting against the Elmwood School Project would lead to significant consequences including: (a) renting modular classrooms at over $1million per school year per classroom, (b) loss of all art, science, and music spaces to be used as classrooms, ( c ) additions or more modular classrooms needed at Hopkins, Middle School, and High School, (d) tighter lunch rooms starting earlier in the school day, (e) heavier used playgrounds in already tight spaces, and (f) possible loss of the teachers who make our schools so successful as working conditions deteriorate.
Elmwood Elementary School is facing an immediate space crisis. Based on demographer estimates, we will face continued enrollment increases over the next decade. Both the town and state provided demographers have concluded that the current Elmwood School is grossly undersized to service the total enrollment of our students, the children of Hopkinton. A new Elmwood School would improve the student learning experience as the new school would have appropriate cafeteria, gym, and play space. Furthermore, the addition of MANY general education classrooms protects class size for our learners and creates new spaces that do not exist at the current Elmwood School made to ensure special education students and multilingual learners have access to the resources they need and deserve in the same hallways as their peers.
As we approach November 13th, where we will all need to be present to cast a vote, it’s essential to make fair and informed decisions about the Elmwood School Project. I urge those who have not been involved in the evolution of this important town endeavor to read up on the www.elmwoodproject.com website, reach out to a member of the Elmwood School Building Committee via email at email@example.com, or attend an upcoming Community Forum (listed on the website! Or contact the committee to request an information session).
A “Yes” vote signifies support for a larger facility at the most advantageous cost to our community. Let us secure Hopkinton’s continued position at the forefront of educational excellence by approving this essential project on November 13th!
Thank you for supporting the continued success of our schools, the success of our children. Strong Schools = Strong Communities.