Nauset High Renovation Project Discussed in Brewster

BREWSTER – A public forum was held at Brewster Ladies’ Library Thursday regarding potential renovations to Nauset Regional High School.

Hosted by the Brewster Community Network, it was the first of multiple meetings across the area open to the public regarding the proposed plan to upgrade the school.

The building, which is nearly 50 years old, is beginning to show its age.

As a result, Brewster, Eastham, Orleans, and Wellfleet residents will be tasked with voting on the fate of an approximately $132 million renovation project at their respective town meetings.

Speakers such as Town Administrator Peter Lombardi and Greg Levasseur, chair of the Nauset Building Committee, were brought in to dive into the plan’s details, answer questions from residents, and break down alternative plans.

Levasseur explained that around $98 million of the overall cost involves getting the school up to date on things such as handicap, electrical, and safety codes.

He also said that the overall price has caveats and contingencies, and that the price of the project could increase over time if action isn’t taken soon.

The cost for Brewster residents in total, Levasseur said, looks to be around $45 million. But, that price wouldn’t kick in immediately.

“The first tax bill that’s reflected for any part of this cost is (fiscal year) 25,” he said.

“So, we would have five years to get the process done, and keep you informed as to where we’re going.”

Levasseur said that around 60% of the buildings on the campus would be renovated, while two and a half buildings–including the cafeteria–would be demolished.

The meeting came after around $36 million of state funding for the project was made available. State funding would be lost if the project is voted down.

The process of securing the funding, Levasseur said, is a long and complicated one.

Brewster is in an interesting position with Nauset Regional High School, as the number of students the town sends to the school nearly matches the amount of students sent by the other three towns combined.

Dave Danish is a Brewster resident who represented taxpayers concerned about the project at the meeting. He believes that it is not worth it for town taxpayers to pay the money pitched for a school of this size, considering its declining enrollment numbers.

“We believe it is important for the taxpayers to get an understanding of what this project, if approved, will be costing us now, as well as potential long-term costs,” Danish said.

Lombardi referenced a study which concluded that the average Brewster homeowner would pay $324 a year over 25 years if this project were to go through, but that projection is based on plenty of factors that are subject to change.

He said the town’s economic forecast does not show any looming structural defects through FY 2025.

Town meeting in Brewster is scheduled for May 4.

About Brendan Fitzpatrick

Brendan, a recent graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is one of the newest members of the NewsCenter team. When not on the beat, you'll probably find him watching Boston sports.
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