South Hadley denied state funding for elementary school renovation

  • Mosier Elementary School in South Hadley.  GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 2/21/2019 11:34:18 PM

SOUTH HADLEY — Plans to replace or renovate Mosier Elementary School have been pushed back a year after the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) denied the South Hadley school district’s statement of interest. 

“The state determined that other schools were in worse shape than our school for this year, so we’re resubmitting for our next cycle,” said South Hadley Superintendent Nicholas Young, noting that Mosier made it into the final round of consideration before it was cut. 

The school, which was built in the 1960s, suffers from both functional and cosmetic issues, Young said, such as old wiring, single pane windows, dated plumbing, cracked floor tiles, cracked ceiling tiles “and everything in between.”

One structural issue at the school is rot inside the walls of the building’s portable classroom extension, which has led to ongoing construction this week. The extension houses four classrooms and bathrooms. 

While engineers determined that the structure was considered safe, Young said, the school district wanted to avoid added strain on the extension due to snow. 

“The lifespan of those portable classrooms is definitely becoming a serious problem,” Young said. Without the extension, Young added that the district would not have space to operate the school.

Students are currently on vacation this week, which allows construction to go on at the school without disrupting classes. 

The portable classrooms will “most likely will be in operation for Monday for school,” Young said, “but we may or may not need an extra day.”

Young estimated that repairs to the portable classrooms will cost about $125,000 total, but said that this figure may rise as construction continues.

“We really had no choice,” Young said. “The wall was buckling, and there was rot in the wall.”

Although the school was not accepted into the MSBA program this year, Young hopes that issues such as the aging portable classrooms will help to push the building forward for consideration next year. 

The program usually provides schools with around half of the funding needed for a project, while the other half is typically funded through taxes. 

At a November special Town Meeting, voters passed an amendment to transfer $200,000 from unreserved free cash to create a “Mosier School Stabilization Fund” to repair or replace the school.

The school district would need to undergo a feasibility study before making a decision on whether the building will be renovated or replaced.

MSBA will inform the school district if it’s new application has been accepted in January or February of next year, Young said. 

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at

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