Voting 6-3 on party lines, the Mansfield Town Council approved a conceptual project Thursday to close all three of the town’s elementary schools, and replace them with two new community schools.
“I think the time has come to make a decision, bite the bullet and send it to voters,” Councilman Paul Shapiro said.
The plan includes the demolition of the , and elementary schools, and the construction of two new elementary schools on those sites.
The future use of has not yet been determined.
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Per the council’s proposal, the will receive renovations “including but not limited to roof and window replacements, installation of solar panels and the replacement of modular classrooms,” according to information provided Thursday.
While Councilman Christopher Paulhus was against the two-school option, he said he would have liked to see Goodwin and Southeast as building sites "because they're at opposite ends of the town."
The conceptual project - at an estimated cost of nearly $64 million* - has now been referred to the Planning & Zoning Commission for approval. Pending P&Z's approval, the council will be on track for bond authorization and a November referendum.
“I think it’s the right decision to go forward with the two-school project,” School Board Chairman Mark LaPlaca said following Thursday's meeting. "The future of the program is at stake," he said. "We have to go forward."
“I feel it’s the right decision,” Mansfield Mayor Elizabeth Paterson added. “I really felt it was time to make a decision. and I think we’ve chosen the right sites,” she said.
In coming weeks, the council will further review the project and receive public input as it pertains to the referendum and future use of Southeast.
*Town Note: Estimates are preliminary until final design and site selection occur.