High School Construction Costs


As pointed out by a recent article on Lowell High School, construction costs are spiraling out of control.

Recently built and designed high schools in Massachusetts can be a guide to estimating what it may cost to build a high school:

Year School Enrollment New/Renovate Cost (million)
2017 (proposed) Attleboro 1,671 New $260m
2017 (discussed) Waltham 1,830 New $283.5-299.6m
2017 (under MSBA review) Worcester – South 1,427 New $215m
2017 (proposed) Lowell 3,145 New $344m
2016 (approved) Somerville 1,590 Reconstruction $257m
2012 (opened) Wellesley 1,512 New $115m
2012 (opened) Wayland 828 New $71m
2012 (opened) Natick 1,664 New $78.5m
2010 (opened) Newton North 2,126 New $192-$198m

High School Debt Exclusions

Imminent Debt Exclusions

A debt exclusion for Attleboro is proposed for a new high school.  The cost is approximately $260 million to the state, of which about $130 million would be paid by local taxpayers.

Future Debt Exclusions

Lexington is putting together a statement of interest to the MSBA for a high school.  With capacity needs beyond 2,500 students, we estimate this project would cost about $400 million in total, with $300 million to be paid by local taxpayers.

Past Debt Exclusions Votes on High School Construction

Reviewing elections from 2010 to 2017, we find no instances where high school construction debt exclusions failed at the polls.  Our belief is that ill-fated projects fail at the design and construction phase, or earlier in the process.  These are the results of these recent debt exclusions:

  • Abington, 2820-595, in favor of a new middle-high school, 10/18/2014
  • Ashby, 426-342, in favor of a new district high school, 8/28/2014
  • Berkley, 421-185, in favor of a Somerset-Berkley regional high school, 12/17/2011
  • Berlin, 593-167, in favor of constructing a high school, 5/10/2010
  • Billerica: 6448 – 906, in favor of a new Billerica Memorial High School, 3/5/2016
  • Carlisle: 965-184, in favor of a new Concord-Carlisle High School, 11/5/2011
  • Chatham: 1140-771, in favor of a new school Monomy Regional High School, 9/6/2012
  • Concord, 3572-659, in favor of a new Concord-Carlisle High School, 11/15/2011
  • Duxbury, 1932-1528, in favor of a colocated middle-high school, 11/5/2011
  • E.Bridgewater, 2547-416, in favor of a new high school, 2/12/2011
  • Franklin, 7988-1982, in favor of a new high school, 3/27/2012
  • Greenfield, 2392-557, in favor of a new high school, 5/1/2012
  • Hopkinton, 986-789, in favor a (new?) high school, 5/21/2012
  • Leominster, 1414-543, in favor of new Lunenberg Middle/High School, 1/11/2014
  • Marshfield, 4723-2034, in favor of a new high school, 11/19/2011
  • Maynard, 1764-410, in favor of a new high school, 11/30/2010
  • North Reading, 3075-802, in favor of new high school and renovations, 3/24/2012
  • Pepperell, 1262-801, in favor of new regional high school, 4/28/2014
  • Saugus, 3481-1451, in favor of new middle/high school, 6/20/2017
  • Somerset, 1364-697, in favor of a new high school, 12/19/2011
  • Somerville, 26752-10374, in favor of a new high school, 11/8/2016
  • Townsend, 1050-716, in favor of a new high school, 4/28/2014
  • W. Bridgewater, 1177-553, in favor of a new middle-high school, 10/6/2012
  • Wilmington, 3778-1238, in favor of a new high school, 12/6/2011