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STANFORD - After considering eight different locations, a site selection committee has recommended the proposed new Olympia North Elementary School be located on land adjacent to the current Olympia North Elementary School near Danvers.

The recommendation was made to the Olympia school board Monday night. A public hearing for residents to comment on the site selection is scheduled for June 18 at 7:00 p.m. at the Olympia Administration Building.

"We started with the eight sites and whittled it down to five pretty quickly," Superintendent Don Hahn said.

"We did extensive research on those five sites and on our final meeting on May 23, we came to a consensus pretty quickly and it was unanimous which was good because we had people from all different aspects of the district involved."

To pay for construction of the new building, taxpayers approved a referendum to issue $12.7 million in bonds during the April election. The tax rate for the education fund will increase from $2.40 per $100 equalized assessed valuation to $2.90 per $100 EAV. While that would add $250 per year to the tax bill for a $150,000 house, the actual net impact will be zero because paying off bonds in 2008 and 2009 will offset that increase, district officials say.

In addition to the construction of the new school, the extra revenue from the building bonds will pay for renovations and upgrades of Olympia South Elementary in Atlanta, Olympia West Elementary in Minier and Olympia Middle School and Olympia High School.

"We are on a tight timeline to get this done by August of 2009," Hahn said. "We have a lot to do, but we feel we have a good team in place and that we can get that accomplished."

Hahn said that there is a possibility that the gymnasium at the current Olympia North Elementary site can still be used.

"It was built in 1982 and we feel that if it's possible to use this, it would help us save some money on construction costs," Hahn said.

Assisting with the project is BLDD Architects from Decatur.

After years of cost-cutting measures, the district closed three of its six elementary schools following a series of defeated tax referendums. Schools are still open in Minier, Atlanta and Danvers, where the current Olympia North building is located. Buildings in McLean, Hopedale and Stanford were closed as a result of the cost-cutting measures.

Factors that went into the decision included the cost and availability of suitable land, access to water and utilities, suitability for an environmentally friendly design, federal and state regulations, proximity of the site to student populations and economic and demographic trends.


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