ORLEANS — The Massachusetts School Building Authority smiled on the Nauset Public Schools last week, accepting for further consideration a plan to help pay for renovating 45-year-old Nauset High in Eastham.
“We were chosen as one of 17 districts out of 87 to move forward,” Superintendent Tom Conrad said in an interview Feb. 17. “We are very excited and very happy.”
Nauset applied last year as well but was not accepted. “In terms of statements of interest, it's typical that many districts go through the process for close to five years,” Conrad said. “This was only our second application.”
Conrad said the system has been talking to leaders of its four constituent towns, including Orleans, “since Day 1.” The next step is to have the communities fund a feasibility study at their annual or special town meetings. It appears this spring's meetings may be a bit early to seek that approval, but he expects to discuss the matter with boards of selectmen and finance committees in the coming months.
All the roofs and windows at Nauset High were replaced several years ago. At that time, Conrad said, “We had a great discussion about how to get 20 to 30 more years out of this campus with some kind of renovation rather than build a brand-new high school.”
The system's focus in the statement of interest to the MSBA was on “the educational needs of the program going forward as well as the infrastructure issues that will need attention,” he said. “The plumbing is original, and there have been a number of problems (such as) leaks over the last few years.”
Conrad noted that the campus opened with some portable classrooms, which were eventually deemed unsafe. “We had to create seven additional class spaces” within the buildings, he said. “They certainly were approved, but they're less than adequate. They're not space originally designed for classrooms.”
The four towns, said Conrad, “understand some of the problems existing on the campus, and we're going to have a very, very robust discussion. Eventually, we'll get to the feasibility study and identify and discuss much of what the campus needs.”