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Public Will Get Look at Final Designs for New Middle School This Week

The public will be able to get a look at much more detailed designs for a new Higgins Middle School on Jan. 29, along with a general update on the project.

Architects and the project management firm toiling away at the final designs and documents for the new Higgins Middle School are almost done with their task, according to local officials overseeing the project.

The public will have an opportunity to see those schematics and get a general update on the project this week before it's all shipped off to the Mass. School Building Authority for approval.

This latest update will include floor plans, specific traffic patterns, work schedules, costs, etc.

The School Committee will host an informational public meeting Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. at the Kiley School.

Committeewoman Beverley Griffin Dunne said the Higgins School Building Committee, which she chairs, will take a last vote to recommend the final package to the full school board, which will then vote to submit the design, budget and project schedule to the MSBA.

The full board is expected to take that vote at its first meeting in February.

Dunne said Tuesday's meeting will be more of a presentation by the project team.

She noted that the team has created a "fly-through" view of the new school, as many of the details are now "fleshed out" than what the public saw this past summer.

As of last report, the custom-designed school was projected to cost about $90 million in total, and Peabody is slated for about 56 percent reimbursement from the state.

The MSBA's board of directors will meet in March and decide then to either green light the project for construction or send it back to the drawing board.

The tentative outlook is for a new school to be ready for students in the fall of 2016.

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