Potential Parker Middle School building project takes significant first step
CHELMSFORD, Massachusetts (December 13, 2023) – The Town of Chelmsford was officially invited by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) into its 270-day eligibility period – a significant step to receive funding for a building project focused on Colonel Moses Parker Middle School.
The MSBA’s board of directors voted unanimously to authorize the invitation for Chelmsford, along with 18 other municipalities and districts, on Wednesday morning, Dec. 13.
Superintendent Dr. Jay Lang, noting there are several school buildings in Chelmsford that are aging, thanked State Treasurer Deb Goldberg and the MSBA for the opportunity to join the eligibility period.
“We’re very excited to be at this point,” he said. “The town and the schools have rallied around this particular project, which would benefit the entire town. All of our students are now going through this school, which is currently a grade 5-6 middle school.”
Parker Middle School, which opened in 1967, has a capacity of 684 students; its enrollment is currently 723.
“It is an older building,” Dr. Lang said. “It is severely overcrowded, even beyond overcrowded to MSBA standards. It is a building that has some pretty significant structural issues, systems issues, and we’re actually keeping it open right now with the addition of 11 modular classrooms just to deal with our current enrollment. And our enrollment trajectory in Chelmsford over the next 10 years is set to continue to expand, so this is very timely.”
After several years of submitting applications without a favorable outcome, Chelmsford School Committee Chair Donna Newcomb said the MSBA’s invitation is great news.
“The current School Committee, Dr. Lang and past School Committee members have worked incredibly hard to bring this to fruition,” she said. “It’s a terrific opportunity for our town, our students, our staff and our families to have a wonderful new school building. … Our youngest building will be turning 50. A lot has changed in education in the last 50 years.”
Ms. Newcomb said, while Brian Curley, director of facility services, and the custodial staff have done an outstanding job maintaining the current facilities, a new school would be a game changer for the district.
“We want to provide a great place for our students to grow and learn, so they can eventually go off and make a difference in the world,” she said. “We want the best for our students and staff, and we want the best for our town.”
The MSBA’s invitation is not a guarantee of a project, but the first step of many to come.
The 270-day eligibility period lays out the necessary course of action the Town must take to move through the grant approval process.
This first phase also provides a definitive schedule for completion of preliminary requirements that will assist with the determination of financial and community readiness, and identifying needs for planning and budgeting.
The first steps the district must take during the eligibility period are to complete the Initial Compliance Certification, followed by the formation of a School Building Committee.
Once all of the requirements for the eligibility period have been met, the district will be qualified for an invitation into the MSBA feasibility study.
About Chelmsford Public Schools
The Chelmsford Public School District provides all students with multiple pathways to optimize their own potential for academic excellence, leadership, and social and emotional wellness. The mission of the Chelmsford Public Schools is to educate, engage, prepare, and empower well-rounded and knowledgeable learners to PERSEVERE through challenges, demonstrate RESPECT and INTEGRITY in their words and actions, are DEDICATED to their community, and display EMPATHY as global citizens while discovering and pursuing their full potential. This PRIDE-driven culture enables all members of the school community to support the growth and development of students. For more information, please visit www.chelmsfordschools.org.