The tests needed to be done after an oil spill in 1984 and a second in 1986 contaminated soil and an Activities and Use Limitation (AUL) was attached to the deed in 2002.
Though a full report will be available soon, Superintendent of Schools Joanne Benton said preliminary geo-environmental results found oil in the area from 11 to 14 feet below the surface.
Benton also said the oil is in the area a new parking lot is designed to be constructed, so the soil is below the intended zone of disturbance.
“The preliminary results from the geo-environmental borings, show that the new Project could take place with very little disturbance of contaminated soil,” said Benton. “Any construction or demolition work done in the area will follow a Soils Management Plan and be supervised by a Licensed Site Professional (LSP) to protect public health. Also please keep in mind that the AUL explicitly allows for use of the site for education, so it is safe for use as a school in either case.”
Town Manager Michael Caira said the results came as no surprise.
“It’s good news, but not entirely unexpected,” said Caira. “There continues to not be any healthy or safety issues. We’ll meet every environmental and legal issue. We just continue to plow ahead, and we’re starting to see a little more details in the plans.”
By that meeting, Caira said residents will see plans in much greater detail.
In addition, the design team is slated to meet with the Board of Selectmen and School Committee at the selectmen’s meeting on Monday, Sept. 12.
Benton said the project remains on schedule and will be submitted to the Massachusetts School Board Authority in October for approval at the November 16 Board of Directors meeting.
The first half of December is the goal to have both a Special Town Meeting and Special Election to make a final decision on whether or not a new high school will be built. Specific dates have not yet been chosen for the election and meeting, but Caira said the Board of Selectmen has been asked to settle on dates by their meeting on September 26.
“I’m encouraged by the support we’ve seen from the MSBA and, more importantly, from the residents who seem to be getting more excited about this project,” said Caira.