In a throwback to early 20th-century school architecture, the three-year-old Whitman-Hanson Regional High School in Whitman, Mass., features a three-story, red-brick exterior with majestic granite-like cornice and arched windows. Inside, the two-story-high common areas feature veneer red oak paneling and plasma televisions. The library has comfortable upholstered armchairs, and the gymnasium a walking track that loops above the bleachers. The opening of this school in 2005 prompted one local newspaper to dub it the "Taj Mahal of high schools." But now this 239,000-square-foot building, along with the more modest Ashland (Mass.) High School, is being held up as an example of frugality that should be replicated across Massachusetts. State Treasurer Timothy Cahill selected the two as "model schools" as part of a pilot program that he believes could help rein in school project costs that have skyrocketed above $100 million. Whitman-Hanson may appear elaborate, Cahill says, but its $41.9 million price tag was reasonable, and it opened on time -- two key factors that made Ashland stand out, too.