• In January 2023, the MSBA (Massachusetts School Building Authority) recommended and approved the Essex Elementary School for admission into the Eligibility Phase of the MSBA grant process. Being accepted means the MERSD Essex Elementary School has been identified as being one of the neediest schools in the state (close to being out of options to address the structural issues of the building) and a good candidate for the grant program.  The MSBA grant program provides technical assistance and financial support (a minimum of 30% reimbursement) for the planning and construction of a new/renovated school. 

    Acceptance into the program comes at a critical time.  In the fall of 2022, MERSD commissioned Habeeb & Associates to conduct a needs assessment of both facilities to provide a data-based resource to guide in the development of a timeline to address the replacement of Essex Elementary School as well as to proactively plan for maintaining the middle high school, which will reach its half-life in 2034. The results were reported to the community in November 2022 and clearly showed that Essex Elementary has passed its useful life. The study identified approximately $9 million in capital investments needed to maintain the aging facility. (Habeeb Report ’23) Participation in the MSBA program will allow MERSD to work with the MSBA team of experts to conduct a feasibility study to determine the most cost-effective solution for providing a renovated/rebuilt facility.