Document Sample

To: Merger Study Advisory Committee                           January 18, 2001

Dear Merger Study Advisory Committee Members:

       The attached report represents a consensus of the Sub-Committee regarding the charge
given to us on June 20, 2000, and the associated mission statement developed by our sub-
committee. Our recommendation is to proceed with Phase II to construct a merged, unified,
regional agricultural / technical high school on the site of the Essex Agricultural/Technical High
School. The benefits related to this approach are founded on the premise that to miss this
opportunity to deliver a state of the art school for the students of this region and the overall
community would be ill advised. This opportunity will not be available to us again.

       Our Sub-committee explored all available reasonable scenarios. Additionally, we have
considered the consequences of no action at this time. The financial and educational issues are
many, but are not insurmountable. We recommend that the process continue by embarking on a
campaign to attain local and state political support to deliver a first class Regional School for our

       Success is totally dependent upon the will and diligence of the three school
administrations, faculty, students and members of the communities the school will serve, and the
unique opportunity to satisfy the demand for an Agricultural and Technical School for our

        Therefore, we wholeheartedly request your support and endorsement of this plan. Our
goal is to provide an enhanced learning environment for all students within the political realities
and needs of our communities.

       We are all available for further service to make this a reality. Thank you for this
opportunity to serve the students of this area.

                                                      Respectfully yours,

                                                      Mark Zuberek, Chairman

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        Staff Requirements and Allocation
        Equity Contribution/Asset Resolution
        Peabody equity value contribution
        Need to relocate NSCC from the Essex Campus
        School Transition Administration
        Disposition of North Shore Technical H.S. property
        Community Use of facilities
        Operating Costs
        Department of Education - Public Hearing
        Explore potential funding sources
        Time line to completion

        Mission Statement                                    Attachment A
        Merger Study Sub-Committee Members                   Attachment B
        Merger Study Advisory Committee Members              Attachment C
        Current and Proposed Programs                        Attachment D
        Educational Concept                                  Attachment E
        Comparison of Capital Cost for Each Option           Attachment F
        Essex Aggie Location Map                             Attachment G
        Existing Essex Aggie Site Plan                       Attachment H

Merger Study Sub-Committee Report                                           1/18/01   2

The Sub-Committee of the Merger Study Advisory Committee developed this report. It is our
expectation that this document will provide the basis for proceeding with a merger between
North Shore Technical High School, Essex Agricultural and Technical High School and the
incorporation of Peabody Veterans Memorial High School's vocational programs.

The Sub-Committee presents this report as a justification for and our vision of a unified regional
technical/agricultural high school. It is our hope that this information will lead to the
authorization of a Feasibility Study, which will provide the level of detail necessary for the
continuation of this project.


On February 18, 2000 the Merger Study Advisory Committee, appointed by the Commissioner
of Education, met at the Essex Agricultural and Technical High School. The meeting was
convened at the request and under the direction of the Department of Education. In attendance
were Commissioner of Education, David Driscoll and Francis Kane, Associate Commissioner of
Career and Technical Education. The Merger Study Advisory Committee membership (see
Attachment C) represents the various constituent groups with interests in the potential merged
unified school. The membership consists of forty (40) representatives interested in the future of
the two schools.

The Department of Education engaged MGT of America to prepare a Merger Study Report to
assess and evaluate the potential of combining the two schools, with the addition of 300 students
from Peabody.

Although North Shore Community College ( NSCC ) was not included in the original study, it
became clear during our deliberations that they would be an integral part of this study.

On April 20, 2000 the Department of Education with MGT of America presented a DRAFT
Merger Study Report for consideration and comments by the committee. Input was solicited
from the potential participants in this merger. Past, present and future space and growth plans
were suggested for incorporation to represent the future capacity of the different options
suggested. The consultant was directed to incorporate much of the data provided and present a
final report by midyear.

On June 20, 2000 the MGT of America presented a final report to the forty- (40) member Merger
Study Advisory Committee and the Department of Education. Four options were presented.
Each of these options had a significant impact on the educational process and on the capital
facilities requirements. The options ranged from a totally unified regional school complex at one
location to maintaining the status quo with each school incurring the costs necessary to expand,
enhance or build new facilities.

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The conclusion of the Merger Study Advisory Committee meeting in June, resulted in a motion
from the floor to nominate a manageable, seven to eleven (7 to 11) member sub-committee to
further explore the consultant's report and any local issues raised. This sub-committee shall
recommend future action to the full Merger Study Advisory Committee. The current Merger
Study Sub-Committee (see Attachment B) was named and authorized to proceed expeditiously.
The first meeting of the sub-committee was held on August 9, 2000. Many issues have been
identified and addressed but the most notable accomplishment is the unanimous vote to pursue a
unified/merged regional agricultural/technical school on the Essex Agricultural site. The sub-
committee adopted a comprehensive and versatile mission statement (see Attachment A) to guide
the path to a new regional technical/agricultural high school.

We expect that the conclusions and the recommendations of this report shall serve as the basis
for the Phase II efforts necessary to implement the plan to fruition.


As with most creative initiatives, the driving force is need. North Shore Technical High School,
Essex Agricultural School and the Peabody Public Schools in searching for resolution of issues
unique to each institution opened a dialogue to pursue mutual interests. North Shore Technical
High School and Essex Agricultural/Technical High School have both been forced to limit their
freshman class admissions due to space constraints. This limitation has resulted in the denial of
technical and / or agricultural education to hundreds of students. Given the overlapping missions
and constituents, each entity recognized the potential of exploring the possibilities of focusing
their individual resources towards a collaborative vision and mission.

North Shore Technical High School was in need of additional space to meet continually
increasing student applications. Overcrowding on their Middleton campus resulted in a proposed
expansion project designed to accommodate 600 students on a limited site. Such a project would
be a multimillion-dollar undertaking.

At the same time, Essex Agricultural / Technical High School was also in need of expansion due
to legislative restructuring of their district. This restructuring designed to meet the needs of
students living north of Boston, wishing to access an agricultural education, would require an
expanded facility. Essex Agricultural School, while having an appropriate amount of land, is at
present an outdated facility in need of substantial renovation. A recent review indicates that it is
not compliant with the regulations set forth in the Americans for Disabilities Act and also does
not meet required Department of Education standards for an educational facility. Renovation
and expansion of this institution would also be a multimillion-dollar project.

The Peabody school system, in discussions regarding renovation of their high and/or middle
schools, also sought to expand its vocational/technical programs. This would also result in a
project with an estimated cost in the millions of dollars.

Since all three schools have a need for renovation and expansion of existing facilities a merger
was looked upon as a viable option. A unified vocational/technical agricultural school will

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provide one identity for students; it will allow for expanded offerings in academics and technical
areas, and it will provide potential long range operating cost reductions.

Additionally, locating the school on the Essex Agricultural campus, with its proximity to North
Shore Community College would allow for creative educational opportunities for the students in
this area. Dual enrollment opportunities would be enhanced, as could articulation credit
arrangements available through Tech Prep. Upon graduation from high school, students could
progress along a seamless path to certificate and/or degree offerings of North Shore Community
College. High school graduates would also have the option of pursuing an array of transfer
programs available at North Shore Community College. Joint admission agreements and over
one-hundred college articulation agreements further foster a 2+2+2 model.*

With commitment and creativity the partnership between the proposed unified
vocational/technical agricultural school and North Shore Community College can open doors to
higher education to all graduates should they so desire. Additionally, the proximity of the two
schools presents the opportunity of shared resources.

In the proposed unified school, (See Attachment E) the freshmen year will consist of a standard
high school curriculum (Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks) with an exploratory exposure
to either vocational/technical and/or agricultural education. This distinction is made to respect
the geographical boundaries of other vocational schools. Freshmen residing outside of the North
Shore Vocational-Technical District will be offered an agricultural exploratory only. Students
residing within the agricultural district desiring a vocational program not offered at their district
vocational school might enter the school in the tenth grade under Chapter 74 regulations or
school choice.

The proposed staffing requirement for a school of 1300 students would be approximately 120
teachers, (52 academic, 68 vocational/agricultural) 5 guidance counselors and 17 special
education teachers and/or specialists. The administrative structure would be similar to that of
other schools of that size requiring a superintendent, an assistant superintendent, a principal,
assistant principal, vocational/agricultural and academic coordinators, a cooperative education
director, administrators of special education and guidance and a business manager. It would also
be necessary to hire the requisite number of building maintenance and clerical staff necessary to
operate and maintain the new facility.

It is the belief of this sub-committee that given the current needs of the three schools in question
a unified school on the Essex Agricultural campus is both educationally sound and fiscally

*A model which allows students to take college courses during the 11 and 12 grades, attain an associates degree at a
community college and complete their education at an institution offering a baccalaureate degree.

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The Sub-Committee acknowledges the current structure of the two schools as established
through Chapter 545 of the Acts of 1972 for the North Shore Technical School and Chapter 74
and 74A and 603 CMR 42 for the Essex Agricultural School.

It is further recognized that a new governance structure will be included in any legislation for a
consolidated school by the General Court with guidance from the State Department of Education.

Therefore, this Sub-Committee does not wish to propose a specific governance structure except
to recommend that consideration be given to continuing the use of an enrollment based School
Committee or Board of Trustees.

The Sub-Committee believes the application of this principle within any governance structure
will fairly represent the large number of communities throughout the North Shore sending
students to the combined institution, while providing flexibility for future student enrollment


The objective of the “Merger Study” was to examine the options available for housing the Essex
Agricultural, North Shore Technical, and Peabody Vocational students at the Essex Agricultural
site. The following four options were selected for study:

       1.   Separate agricultural and technical schools
       2.   Combined academics only
       3.   Unified, merged school
       4.   Existing sites upgraded

Enrollment figures of 400 students for Essex Aggie, 600 students for North Shore Tech, and 300
students for Peabody resulted in a projected 1300 student merged high school facility.

The report addresses proposed programs, enrollment analysis, school size, cost and
advantages/disadvantages of each option, as well as financing. A preferred option was not
provided by MGT. The sub-committee concluded that the capital costs in the MGT report
required refinement.

Specifically, options 1 and 2 provide no replacement cost for Essex Agricultural space that is no
longer suitable for future use. Yet, when new facilities for Essex Agriclutural students appear in
option 4, they far exceed 300 Gross Square Foot (GSF) per student. By contrast, new facilities
for Peabody students in option 4 appear to be based upon 225 GSF/student. Further, these
inconsistencies are carried forward into Section 3.0 of the report, Financial Information.

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The sub-committee regards the attached table (See Attachment F) as a more realistic comparison
of capital costs, thus contributing to the recommendation by the sub-committee to proceed with
the merged school option.

Notes for table:

           Options 1, 2, and 3 are located at the Essex Agricultural site.

           Costs are not absolute and are subject to escalation, design development, and the
           extent of renovation of existing Essex Agricultural structures.

           The costs/square foot are current DOE figures: $100/GSF for renovations and $200
           ($197)/GSF for new construction.
           The MGT report uses both 300 and 225 GSF per student. The latter is a DOE
           guideline, but we have chosen to use the former as being more representatives of the
           needs of a combined agricultural and technical school.

           Student enrollments and the ultimate school enrollment (1300) are as used in the
           MGT report.

           No cost provisions were included for re-location or upgrading of NSCC


The Subcommittee determined that a professional traffic study is required, first, as a means of
understanding the impact of the proposed development on the area and second, to help in
developing appropriate options both for access and egress and in mitigating potential adverse
impacts from added traffic. The Sub-Committee asks that the Department of Education provide
funding for such a study. An opportunity may exist to incorporate this work within a Town wide
traffic study which the Town of Danvers intends to request approval for at its May, 2001 Annual
Town meeting. If this were done, the State could participate in the financing of the Town's study
with the net outcome being cost savings both for the Town and the State.

The Sub-committee also identified the potential impact of expanded facilities on the adjacent
residential neighborhoods as issues, which should be properly addressed. The formation of a
neighborhood advisory committee similar to one formed when North Shore Community College
moved to Danvers in the 1990's was seen as an idea, which should be considered as well. In any
case, sensitivity to adjacent residences needs to be considered as an important a factor in any
plans for expansion.

And finally, the potential for using public transportation through the MBTA should be
considered as a means of improving access to the property. An initial discussion of this concept
was held with the Director of Planning of the MBTA in anticipation of current and future needs
of the Regional High School, but more urgently needed by NSCC students and staff. The concept
of public transportation of college students between the Ferncroft and Lynn campus of NSCC is

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attractive in anticipation of reduced vehicular traffic on local highways as well as residential
streets in Danvers and Middleton.

A representative task force, authorized by the MBTA, will soon begin to review the public
transportation requirements of the area. This task force will make recommendations that will
form the basis of a plan to serve the North Shore including the area of Hathorne.


The next step, which is a feasibility study, will provide us with enrollment projections, school
size, specifications, and a conceptual design for the new unified facility. This design will include
layouts for parking, playing fields and transportation and as such, will address questions
surrounding the impact to the neighborhood and environment. Additionally, the feasibility study
will address North Shore Community College's presence of 8600 square feet and 450 students on
the Danvers campus, and provide the committee with a variety of options for inclusion or

Upon completion of the feasibility study we will have even further justification for our choice of
this option. The Subcommittee recommends that the study include a requirement for public


Our region has not enjoyed the first class vocational facilities found in every other region of the
State. In rectifying this situation, the region should, by legislation, enjoy the same favorable
financing terms and conditions under which other regional technical vocational schools were
constructed. Funding under the SBAB (School Building Assistance Bureau) reimbursement
schedule should be a fallback position.

The combination of the North Shore Technical High School and the Essex Agricultural &
Technical High School on the splendid and extensive Aggie campus is a concept that makes
complete educational and fiscal sense. Failure to embrace this concept would force the
communities served by these three institutions to invest millions of dollars on three separate


The mission of the Merger Study Sub-Committee has been to review the considerations
presented in and the options proposed by the MGT of America report, as well as any other
pertinent issues, and to make a recommendation for further action to the Merger Study Advisory

The Sub-Committee has examined the need for renovation and expansion of North Shore
Technical High School, Essex Agricultural/ Technical High School and the vocational programs

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in the Peabody Public Schools if they are to deliver high quality technical and agricultural
programs to the students of this region in the future.

The Sub-Committee has considered the four options contained in the MGT report. Primary
considerations have been the opportunity to provide effective, efficient, high quality, forward-
looking educational programs; capital cost analysis, financing, governance, and availability of
space, staffing requirements, and coordination with North Shore Community College.

The Sub-committee has determined that a unified technical/agricultural school will provide an
enhanced learning environment for all students. Additionally, as a "High Schools That Work"
site*, North Shore Technical High School is in the position to offer students from all three
facilities an educational experience that focuses on raising academic standards and increasing
community and parental involvement in the school.

Therefore, it is the conclusion and recommendation of the Sub-Committee that a unified,
merged regional agricultural/technical high school be constructed on the Essex
Agricultural site. Anticipated enrollment would be comprised of 400 agricultural students,
600 technical students from the current sixteen- (16) member North Shore Technical High
School district, and 300 students from Peabody.

This recommendation is presented to the full membership of the Merger Study Advisory
Committee for its approval.

The Sub-Committee also recommends the following subsequent steps:

   1. Immediate contact with and involvement with the Department of Education.

   2. Communication with local communities.

   3. Communication with state legislators.

   4. Authorization of an RFP for a Feasibility Study.

   5. Authorization of funding for the Feasibility Study.

   6. Authorization of a Feasibility Study by a professional architect to determine the next
      level of detail, i.e., educational specifications, conceptual design options, site layout,
      schematic design, detailed cost estimates, etc.

*A federally funded initiative that provides a framework of goals, key practices and key
conditions for accelerating learning and setting higher standards. Major goals are raising math,
science, communication and problem solving, and technical achievement to the national average
or above and to blend the essential content of college preparatory studies with quality
vocational/technical studies. North Shore Tech, through grant funding, is a High Schools That
Work site.

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                                                                                       Attachment A

                         MERGER STUDY SUB-COMMITTEE
           Essex County Agricultural/Technical & North Shore Technical High Schools

                                                                              August 23, 2000

Merger Study Sub-Committee
                                        MISSION STATEMENT

       Accept the challenge and explore this opportunity to evaluate and assess the need for a
regional vocational/technical agricultural high school. To propose a state of the art educational
program with appropriate facilities that integrate the academic and specialized
vocational/technical and agricultural programs to meet the demands of our students and support
the needs of this region.

       Our goal is to explore all appropriate possibilities of anticipated school population
growth, programs, space configurations, governance and funding resources to fulfill our region’s
vocational/technical and agricultural educational needs.

       Building and campus area needs shall be evaluated while always considering the
environmental and socioeconomic impact on the host school, host town and the region.
Appropriate professional services shall be engaged to assist the sub-committee in these land and
building evaluations.

      Any plan which is put forward shall include a cost benefit analysis for consideration by
the member communities. This plan shall also define the communities.

       The sub-committee shall make periodic updates to the member communities, the
Department of Education and the full Merger Study Committee. The sub-committee shall
present the findings and make recommendations only after full deliberations have taken place.

         The merger study report prepared for the Department of Education by MGT shall serve as a springboard to
explore relevant issues associated with academics, organization and other major concerns related to this issue.

Merger Study Sub-Committee Report                                                               1/18/01       10
                                                                      Attachment B

                              MERGER STUDY SUB-C0MMITTEE

Amelia O’Malley               978-762-0001 x230  
NSRVSD, Supt.-Director

Gus Olson                     978-774-0050       
Essex Agricultural, Supt.

Mark Zuberek                   978-777-4022      
Essex County Selectmen's Assoc.

Wayne Marquis                 978-777-0001       
Danvers Town Mgr.

Ira Singer                    978-777-3617       
Middleton Town Adm.

William Scanlon, Jr.          978-921-6000       

Peter Torigian                978-532-3000       

Richard Passeri               978-762-4000       

Edward Fallon                                    
NST Teacher

Daniel Spotthiem                                 
Essex Agricultural Teacher

Robert Pariseau               978-777-0276       

Merger Study Sub-Committee Report                                           1/18/01       11
                                                                                       Attachment C

Francis Kane, State Director of Career and Technical   Mr. Thomas Blair, Alumni
Education, Massachusetts Department of Education,
Chairperson                                            Mr. Scott Cody, Alumni

Mr. Gustave D. Olson, Jr., Superintendent              Ms. Joan Townley, Alumni

Mr. Edmund W. Barry, Jr., Superintendent               Mrs. Vikki White, Alumni

Ms. Helen Hegarty, Principal                           Senator Fredrick E. Berry

Ms. Amelia P. O’Malley, Principal                      Senator Bruce E. Tarr

Mr. Charles W. Robinson, Chairperson-Board of          Representative Brian M. Cresta
                                                       Representative Bradford Hill
Mr. Philip Holden, School Committee Member
                                                       Representative Theodore C. Speliotis
Mr. George Banos, Teacher
                                                       Representative Harriett L. Stanley
Ms. Jennifer Dawe, Teacher
                                                       Mayor William F. Scanlon, Jr.
Mr. Edward Fallon, Teacher                             City of Beverly

Mr. Malcolm Seaver, Teacher                            Mayor Bruce Tobey-Cty of Gloucester

Ms. Angie Clement, Chapter Chair, AFSCME               Mayor Peter Torigian-Cty of Peabody

Mrs. Mary Kroesser, Special Education Director         Mayor Stanley J. Usovicz, Jr.
                                                       City of Salem
Mrs. Tina Beaulieu, Parent
                                                       Mr. Mark Zuberek, President
Ms. Madeline Conway, Parent                            Essex County Selectmen’s Association

Ms. Sandra Conway, Parent                              Mr. Wayne Marquis, Town Manager
                                                       Town of Danvers
Mrs. Terry Hannah, Parent
                                                       Mr. Ira Singer, Town Administrator
Ms. Kristen Antoon, Student                            Town of Middleton

Mr. William Beaulieu, Student                          John F. Barry, Director
                                                       North Shore Community College
Ms. Julia Kennedy, Student
                                                       Jeffrey Wheeler, Educational Specialist
Ms. Holli McRae, Student                               Massachusetts Department of Education

Merger Study Sub-Committee Report                                                           1/18/01   12
                                                                           Attachment D
                           Current and Proposed Programs
                                        Grades 10 – 12

       Business and Technology
       Information Systems Technology                    Plant Science
       Electronics                                        Floricultural
       Graphic Arts                                       Natural Resources
       Commercial Arts                                    Ornamental Horticultural
       Cosmetology                                        Urban Forestry
       Culinary Arts
                                                         Health Technology and
       Automotive – Design – Construction                Environmental Sciences
       *HVAC                                             Health Technology
       Machine Technology                                Certified Nursing Assistant
       Automotive Technology                             *Dental Assistant
       *Metal Fabrication/Welding                        *Child Care
       Collision Repair Technology                       *Home Health Aide
       *Electrical                                       Environmental Sciences
                                                         *Environmental Management
       Agricultural and Environmental                     Inland Waters & Wetlands
       Sciences                                           Aquaculture
       Animal Science                                     Waste Water Treatment
       Vet Tech
       Small Animals
        Equine Studies

       *Proposed Program

Merger Study Sub-Committee Report                                                    8/3/03   13
                                                                              Attachment E


This concept is designed to

        1. maintain the small school atmosphere that is so important to our students and faculty
        2. respect the geographical boundaries of other vocational/technical school districts,
           which fall within the agricultural district.

The school will consist of Career Academies or Clusters. Career academies, which have been in
the American high school since early 1970 are schools within schools. Most academies span the
last three years of high school. We have chosen to cover all four years; however the freshman
year will be treated differently allowing for the uniqueness of the district.

The curricular themes or clusters proposed are:

        Business and Technology
        Automotive - Design - Construction
        Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
        Environmental, Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences
        Health Sciences and Human Services

We feel that within these four areas we can comfortably place our proposed and existing
technical majors. (See attached)

The staffing for these academies is best approached using the team model. This has the
advantage of providing teachers with common planning time, which would in turn allow for
development of integration projects.

It is important to note that the team model will not preclude the offering of unique English, math,
social studies and science classes to the entire school population. As stated earlier, we must take
care not to limit student options. Our mission as educators is to expand options.

The freshmen academy will be divided into two teams of academic staff and vocational or
agricultural staff. Teams will consist of math, science, English and history teachers as well as
vocational/agricultural lab teachers. The freshmen year, which will consist of academics in line
with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, is a time to explore various academies, build on

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basic academic competencies and to begin to refine critical thinking, problem solving, and
decision making and teambuilding.

In-district freshmen will participate in exploration of the 6 academies. Since the freshmen class
will encompass students from both the Agricultural district (statewide) and the North Shore
District (17 local communities) freshmen residing outside of the vocational/ technical district
will be offered only an agricultural exploratory. Students from within the district will have both a
vocational exploratory and an agricultural exploratory. This is necessary in order to respect the
boundaries of neighboring vocational schools. To offer exploratory in the vocational/technical
areas offered at neighboring technical schools would be unfair to the students since the district
agreements already in place would necessitate their attendance at their local vocational technical
school. Students residing in the agricultural district desiring a vocational program not offered at
the district vocational school may enter the unified school in grade ten under Chapter 74

In the upper grades the curriculum design will simultaneously train students in their technical
majors (previously called vocational or agricultural programs) and prepare them for college or
further technical training. It is essential that while remembering the mission of a
technical/agricultural school, we do not limit student's options for the future.

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                                                                     Attachment G


     Options                Renovation Costs   New Facilities Cost      Total Costs

1a–Separate Schools           $8,280,400        $39,892,500             $48,172,900
                                                 @ 225 GSF

1b-Separate Schools           $8,280,400        $53,190,000             $61,470,400
                                                 @ 300 GSF

2-Combined Academic           $8,280,400        $37,712,695             $45,993,095

3a-Unified School             $2,326,500        $57,622,500             $59,949,000
                                                 @ 225 GSF

3b-Unified School             $2,326,500        $76,830,000             $79,156,500
                                                 @ 300 GSF

4-Existing Sites             $15,500,400        $55,948,000             $71,448,400

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