If a new middle school is built, it will be at the site of the existing .
A task force studying school facilities recommended Thursday night that the district use that location instead of a 17-acre district-owned site next to , behind .
"I'm excited," said Ward 3 Councilman Jim Carbone, a member of the task force who launched the idea of building a new middle school earlier this year. "In the fall of 2015, we will have clean, safe new buildings that have improved technology."
The construction depends on voter approval of an at the polls Nov. 6.
Carbone said the task force, with help from architects from GDP Group, considered traffic, safety, wetlands and zoning issues.
He said the members also factored in the proximity of the 17-acre site to the soon-to-be-built Market District store and .
That parcel also needed to be rezoned and included federally protected wetlands.
School board members voted 5-0 to accept the recommendation.
Board member Jennifer Sinisgalli said she was grateful the task force "made the decision based on facts."
And board member Carl Naso said building the new school would be a "win-win" for the district, reminding his colleagues that he and Carbone originally suggested the new middle school as a way to save operating money for the district by combining the two middle schools into one.
Carbone said the bond issue would cost the average homeowner "less than $2.10 a month extra," and "will save millions as we move forward."
"I believe together, we can make it happen," Carbone said. "We're in for a fight. But you know what? It's good to fight the good fight."
The $81 million bond issue would also pay for significant improvements at the high school -- including technology upgrades -- and for safety repairs at the elementary schools. It would also pay to demolish the existing Center, and Allen school buildings.
The district's long-range plan is to follow up with another bond issue in a few years to tackle other problems at the elementary schools, possibly building three new schools, renovating and and demolishing the rest.