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Dedham's Dexter building could get state funds for renovation

Posted by Dave Eisenstadter  January 30, 2013 10:45 PM

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Dedham’s former Dexter School is one step closer to becoming a public school again.

The former elementary school, which now houses the Little Sprouts private pre-school and The Education Cooperative regional agency, has been selected as one of only two projects eligible for help from the Massachusetts School Building Authority in the current round.

The town hopes to convert the building, located at 1112 High St., into its public Early Childhood Education Center.

Dedham Public Schools Superintendent June Doe told School Committee members at a meeting Wednesday that the renovation project was selected from 37 projects. Its selection means that the MSBA could pay as much as 50 percent of the cost of renovation, which Doe estimated would cost $8 million in total.

“It’s a pretty good facility; the team was impressed with the quality of the building,” Doe said at the meeting Wednesday.

The next phase of the process is the town must fund a cost analysis and a schematic design for the project within the next nine months, according to Doe.

“It’s a long process to get to the actual construction phase, but it’s pretty significant that only two other school districts were recommended to go to the eligibility phase,” Doe said.

The town’s Early Childhood Education Center is now in an older 1931 building at 322 Sprague St. School Principal Jessica Hammond said in June 2012 that one of her priorities was getting the school into a different facility.

“We’re very excited to have the potential to move into such an exciting facility to grow and learn,” Hammond said at Wednesday’s meeting.

State Representative. Paul McMurtry, D-Dedham, was present at Wednesday’s meeting, along with state Senator Michael Rush, D-West Roxbury.

McMurtry said he had a personal reason to want the Early Childhood Education Center project to move forward.

“[Dexter] was my elementary school and I want to see that become a reality,” he said.

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