Our District » Herrick Project » Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Upon receiving the cost estimates from TruexCullins, the MTSD School Board made the decision to proceed with the plan to build a new school. TruexCullins will now undertake a more detailed analysis of the chosen option, which involves building a new facility for MES & MMS. This phase of the project will encompass a range of activities, such as creating 3D models, conducting land surveys, performing civil engineering work, and carrying out a comprehensive traffic study.

The Milton Town School District ( MTSD), in partnership with TruexCullins, is seeking community members to serve on the MTSD Herrick Project Committee. This committee is being formed to address the Herrick Avenue facility deficiencies that came to light during the MTSD Master Facilities Evaluation, including aging infrastructure and aspects of the design that are incompatible with current building security and educational programming needs.
MTSD Board of Trustees has contracted with Truexcullins of Burlington to conduct a facilities master planning process. In part, Truexcullins was selected because they use a research-based approach to educational facilities. Their field of focus is in educational architecture and 21 C. learning that embraces a whole child philosophy.  For them, this means creating schools that foster learning, wellness, and engagement.

Truexcullins provided an assessment and report (facilities evaluation) regarding the current state of the MTSD schools. The Herrick Project committee found the Herrick Avenue facilities to have the greatest need for improvement.

Herrick Avenue facilities are in the most urgent need of improvement within our district. Compared to the state's average, these facilities have exceeded the typical age, with the first phase dating back to 1954, seven years older than the Vermont average. Furthermore, the last addition was made in 1996, making it four years older than the state average. Remarkably, no part of the building has undergone a modernization or renovation plan, and wear and tear are noticeable.

It's the community's perception that the Herrick Facility has not been properly maintained and if it had, then a major scale project would not be necessary. This is simply not true. The Herrick facilities are fully maintained and everything is in working order. The Maintenance Plan includes:

  • An annual preventative maintenance plan
  • Day to day fixes - these range from leaky faucets and broken soap dispensers to ventilation operations (student dropping paperclips down the vents…) or other classroom utility malfunctions, window and door issues…
  • Unanticipated safety repairs or remediation - i.e basketball hoops, mold…

Additionally, in the last 5 years, the District has also completed major projects to support both the operations and educational programming of the Herrick, including:

  • 2 new Rooftop Air Handlers to support MES section of Herrick
  • New Electrical panels in the Elementary school to support new split A/C units.
  • New fire panels to support the Herrick Ave building.
  • 5 New 5th grade remodeled classrooms (Bond)
  • 2 new burners for the gas boiler that support Herrick Ave.
  • Several New Floors
  • Several new exterior /interior doors.
  • 12 New A/C split units for classrooms.
  • All new electrical fixtures for the middle school science room.
  • Remodeled 2 new principals’ offices for the Middle School.
  • Install A/C in middle school principal's offices
  • On going installation of LED lighting on the second floor of the Middle School.
  • Built 2 new offices at the Elementary school.
  • Installed all new drinking fountains in the building.
  • New Dishwasher in the kitchen.
  • Re-Keyed the whole building.
  • On going several roof repairs have been made.
  • New intercom system throughout the building. 
  • End of life utility of the infrastructure - the full list is outlined in the Herrick Facilities Evaluation; however, the greatest end of life utilities include the roof; underground plumbing; windows, floors and casings; heating and ventilation controls.   {Link in facilities evaluation.}
  • Moisture continues to be an issue throughout the entire Herrick facility. The slab was poured directly into the ground and despite on-going mitigation efforts, the moisture results in slippery floors, mold growth in ceilings and walls, and fluctuating air and temperature conditions.
  • Educational needs - the shape and space of the facility no longer meets the needs of the types of educational programming we provide. Below are just a few examples.
    • Utility spaces for health services and technology are not sufficient. 
    • Educational spaces for PreK and Kindergarten do not allow for the type of interactive play and programming required
    • Office and learning intervention spaces are carved out of larger spaces and thus not adequate in size or equipped with proper lighting and ventilation
    • Existing space does not allow for current day programming in the areas of art, digital media studies, or innovation (maker spaces)
    • The new fitness center in the middle school is in the Drama room. Not only is the size and ventilation inadequate it also displaces the drama programming to a lesser, shared space.
Per the State, the Herrick Avenue facility is scheduled to be tested between January and March of 2024. Please keep in mind it was supposed to be tested in April of 2023 but that timeline was pushed back by the State. Milton High School is on deck for testing sometime between November 2023 and January 2024. 
Large portions of the HVAC system have been replaced. All the windows need replacement and half of them are already paid for and are scheduled to be installed in the summer of 2024. The roof and boiler system will eventually need to be replaced.
Regardless of the size and scope of any project - miscellaneous capital projects; a full scale renovation; or a new building, the MTSD will need to go out for a bond. 
A Bond would increase many resident’s property taxes, but that depends on your household income. If your income is lower than $99,000 you will likely not see much of an increase, or none. If you income is between $99,000 and $134,800 you will likely have an increase but will also get some income sensitivity relief. If your income is above $134,800, it’s likely that you would not get any relief. Please note that new dollar levels will likely be announced this December.
The maximum legal payout is 40 years. Most banks provide, and schools seek a 30-year bond. MTSD has been investigating the rates and options for 30-year bonds.
We have 3 open bonds. Currently we are paying approximately $370,000 per year. One bond will finish in 2027 and then our payment will drop to approximately $140,000 per year.  Then in 2029 a second bond drops off and we are left with a payment of approximately $70,000 per year from 2029-2040 for the remaining bond.

Students will benefit from a learning design that creates smaller communities within the larger building. The optimum school size for an elementary school is 250 students - we have just over 600. For a middle school, it is 450-600 broken out into team areas of approximately 100. The current design in both our elementary and middle school is a factory model with long, bustling hallways. The facility is noisy, crowded and overwhelming to many students. This type of environment also lends itself to increased behavioral issues, absenteeism, and distractions in teaching and learning.

Students will benefit from a design and program that meets their needs - including spaces for STEAM education, intervention spaces, ADA compliance, classrooms that accommodate flexible groupings, and community spaces.

The community benefits in numerous ways. First, the community’s greatest investment - the education of youth, has a higher quality, more adaptable learning environment to meet the needs of all students. A well-educated population contributes to the success and vibrancy of the entire community. This in turn attracts new families and businesses. Likewise, it contributes to staff satisfaction and longevity.  

In the initial survey, the community emphasized minimizing disruptions to student learning as one of the top 3 priorities. In the case of a renovation project, classrooms would need to move several times as the project advances;, this would impact students.

A new building would not impact student learning. Students would remain in the current space and once the new building is completed, a one time move would occur. The only necessary adjustment would involve temporarily relocating sports activities from the Middle School field to the High School.

Please consider attending our regular forums. We will also be hosting a community survey in the coming months to gather further input regarding the community’s needs. Follow this project website regularly for changes, updates, and developments.

A failure to pass the bond vote would mean the continued use of the existing facility. Administration and the Board would then begin the process of figuring out a 5-10 year plan to upgrade existing structures, including how to fund it. In this scenario, it is unlikely that any necessary changes (renovations) to the educational space could occur. 

Postponing any project increases the risk for major systems’ failure without financial support. Postponing also further impacts project cost as prices continue to increase.  

We invite the community to attend our forums and to learn about the project online as well as through our regular public communications. Since the start of the project the MTSD has made every effort to include information about it in the MTSD newsletter, mailed to every residential mailbox, through mailed postcards, and posters throughout the community.
The design TruexCullins has provided takes a multi-level approach with two floors for both schools. More than two-floor schools are not ideal for educational purposes & learning. Also due to regulations PreK-2nd grade can’t be located above the second floor.
Our architectural firm partners, TruexCullins have built sustainable, eco-friendly, schools throughout the state. Their plans include the evaluation of geothermal energy as an option, solar roofing panels, and high-efficiency building materials to limit the energy lost during the hot summers and cold winters.

The State of Vermont has formed a Joint Task Force on School Construction Aid to evaluate the needs of schools throughout the state and how funding can be set up to assist with renovations and replacements.

The task force’s current agenda is to:
  • review the results of the statewide school facilities inventory and conditions assessment and the school construction funding report required by Act 72 (2021)
  • study issues relating to school construction aid, including:
    • the needs, both programmatic and health and safety, of statewide school construction projects;
    • funding options for a statewide school construction program and criteria for prioritizing school construction funding; and
    • the appropriate state action level for response to PCB contamination in a school.