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ARLINGTON

Estimated cost of new Arlington High School lowered to $291 million

The estimated cost of building a new Arlington High School is now $291 million, according to a town panel.
Joanne Rathe/Globe Staff/File
The estimated cost of building a new Arlington High School is now $291 million, according to a town panel.

An Arlington panel recently agreed to a $291 million estimated cost for the town’s proposed new high school, a $17 million reduction from the original estimate.

The high school building committee voted Feb. 5 to submit the revised cost figure to the Massachusetts School Building Authority as part of the schematic design for the project that it is now finalizing, according to Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine.

The MSBA board is expected to vote in April on whether to approve the design and help fund the project, which calls for construction of a new 415,200-square-foot school on the Massachusetts Avenue site of the existing one.

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When the town completed a feasibility study for the project last June, the cost was estimated at $308 million.

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As a result of additional design work, site analysis, and decisions to relocate several town offices now housed at the high school, the town lowered the cost estimate to $299 million in January. The building committee since then was able to trim another $8 million from the project budget.

If the MSBA approves funding at the April meeting, the town will hold a special election, expected in June, to take up a proposed debt exclusion — a tax increase for the number of years it takes to repay the debt — for the town’s share of the project. Town Meeting also will have to approve the spending.

Town officials estimate the debt exclusion would add about $800 to the annual tax bill for the average single-family home assessed at $752,000.

Town officials say a new school is necessary to accommodate increasing enrollment and address a deteriorating building that no longer meets educational requirements

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In 2013, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges placed the high school on warning status for its accreditation, citing inadequate classrooms, science labs, and technology infrastructure.

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