The Tisbury select board welcomed a new police officer, hired its former building commissioner as a part-time zoning inspector and approved a nearly $900,000 insurance bill for the town school last week.

The $882,944.96 payment to Martha’s Vineyard Insurance Agency, covering the school while it is under construction for the next year and a half, came in more than half a million dollars higher than the $310,000 estimate, according to Michael Owen of CHA/Daedalus, owner’s project manager for the school renovation and addition.

“The catastrophic losses of late have forced insurance companies, especially us being on an Island, to adjust their underwriting and their premium structures,” Mr. Owen told the Tisbury School committee and building committee at a meeting Jan. 10.

A second factor behind the skyrocketing insurance cost is the old school itself, Mr. Owen said.

“The 1929 edition has a significant amount of wood framing in it, i.e. ceiling and joist structure,” he said. “That’s the reason we have that higher premium. And the town’s broker went to many, many companies and this is the best [rate] they could get.”

The select board approved the funding at its meeting on Jan. 11. The payment was the largest of a long string of recent invoices totaling more than $2.3 million for the school construction project, which has an $81 million budget funded by voter-approved bonds.

The select board also approved police chief Chris Habekost’s appointment of a new patrol officer. Forest Filler, currently employed by the Chilmark Police Department and Duke’s County Sheriff’s Department, will start his new job on the Tisbury force Jan. 29.

Along with his peace officer qualifications, the new recruit has achieved a number of other accomplishments, Chief Habekost said.

“Mr Filler has a masters degree in design and historic preservation, and he’s a skilled radio technician, [and] a good all-around person and member of our Island community,” Chief Habekost said.

In other business the select board agreed to a $30,000 contract with former building commissioner and zoning inspector Ross Seavey, to assist the building department for 10 to 15 hours a week while the town searches for his full-time replacement.

“This would run for about three to four months,” town administrator Jay Grande told the board, noting that building and zoning positions are hard to fill across the state.

“We want to get the right fit for the town of Tisbury,” he said.

Mr. Grande also told the board that a long-awaited public hearing on the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s future drainage improvements on Beach Road and State Road will show the town what the state is currently planning for the area, at a design stage of 25 per cent.

“We’ll all learn what’s going on,” he said.

The virtual hearing is set for Jan. 30 at 6:30 p.m. A link is posted on the town website.