By Kathryn Eident
Members at a special May 11th town meeting will be asked to appropriate $450,000 for design schematics that will outline building renovations and a student relocation plan for the Newman Elementary School, according to Superintendent Dan Gutekanst.
In an email to parents, Gutekanst said the funds are necessary to both formalize plans for the renovations and to secure additional funding from the state authority working with the town on the renovation project.
“Obtaining the funds for a design is also the necessary next step in our work with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), with whom we are working closely to secure approval for partial funding (up to 40%) for this project,” Gutekanst said.
Current design plans center on a complete overhaul of the school’s heating and ventilation system, but could also include upgrades to other areas within the school, the email goes on to say.
“…Other areas, including the kitchen, and electrical/technology systems, could also be included as part of the project’s scope,” he wrote.
The School Committee is still researching relocation options for students and staff, including placing a portion of the student body at the Pollard Middle School, he said.
“Clearly, relocating Newman during a 12 to 15 month renovation project will not be easy, but it is our goal to ensure we plan this safely and in a way that minimizes learning disruptions,” he wrote. “…We are considering what grade levels would best fit at Pollard without imposing on an already crowded middle school facility.”
School officials have ruled out a number of locations throughout the research process, most recently rejecting an idea to place students on the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering campus, he said.
The School Committee will present current renovation and relocation plans at a public hearing on Thursday, April 16 at 7 p.m. at the Broadmeadow School, the email said.
“I encourage you to attend the public hearing…to learn more about the project and offer your suggestions and comments,” he wrote.
Gutekanst will present his suggestions for both renovations and a relocation plan to the School Committee on Tuesday, April 28. Later this fall, an override vote will ask residents to approve the funding required to begin the renovations, he said.
Public Hearing: Newman School Plans
Thursday, April 16