Friday, December 6, 2002
$45 million renovation proposed for high school
At a special meeting of the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee (RSC) on November 21 the space utilization committee presented its recommendations for the expansion of the Concord-Carlisle High School. The committee, led by Kate Reid, spent more than a year studying the needs at the school, focusing on all areas but especially on the arts, athletics and sciences.
Principal describes needs
After Reid made her initial presentation, CCHS Principal Art Dulong discussed the key findings in the report. He said more classrooms will be needed by 2004, because the student body is 95% college-bound and taking significantly more classes in math, science, foreign language, art and music. He described the inadequacies of the science instructional spaces, pointing out the need for fume hoods in the chemical labs, additional seating, cleanup sinks, electrical outlets, drains for safety showers (which now empty onto the floor) and safe chemical storage.
Dulong noted that 30 years ago students chose electives such as business, industrial arts, and childcare, along with art and music. Of those electives, only art and music are offered now, and have significantly outgrown their existing space. There is little storage space for student art projects; the darkroom is too small for most classes; the band at present has 172 members and has to be split into two groups in order to find practice space; the storage for the music department is the music corridor and music office; and the chorus of 165 is also split into two groups because of space considerations.
The staff for guidance and special education has grown and needs more classroom and office space. Full inclusion of special education students requires more classroom space and English as a second language has doubled in two years.
Auditorium and Athletics
The auditorium is 40 years old, and only half the student body can be accommodated at one time in the audience. It needs additional seating (currently achieved by adding folding metal chairs); the curtains and stage floor need replacing; and the storage for the auditorium is a trailer behind the building. The athletic facilities currently are split into two floors. Dulong said the upper gym and lower gym both have inadequate lighting. The upper gym has "aging bleachers," while the lower gym has "a very poor floor." The boys and girls lockers are in bad shape. The shower areas, which are seldom used, take a disproportionate amount of space. Additionally, there is little or no storage for athletic equipment, no multi-purpose space, and no classrooms for health.
Doug Sacra, of HMFH Architects, Inc. presented the CCHS Design Overview. The project would be done in six stages, from October 2004 to January 2007. The major changes include:
• new science building replacing the "S" building
• renovations to the "L" (language arts) building
• small meeting rooms added to the library
• new cafeteria and kitchen replacing the courtyard
• new auditorium where the cafeteria currently stands
• renovations of the social studies "H" building
• new field house, with parking beneath, next to the new auditorium
• renovations to the upper and lower gym to allow weight rooms, aerobics rooms, and office space.
The design calls for inter-connected construction; completion of one project depends on another area being completed, with multiple projects occurring simultaneously. Temporary storage units and classrooms will be used as the construction proceeds.
Concerns about cost
In reviewing the total cost of $45 million for the project, Carlisle Finance Committee member Lisa Jensen-Fellows noted it would be helpful to have the project broken down by priorities, and have development done first on the top priorities. She said the smaller projects would be easier to pass at Town Meeting. Reid responded that they did not consider budget when they reviewed the needs of the school. "You can't do one without the other," she added, referring to the interdependencies of the renovation design.
Concord Public School Chair Meg Gaudet asked school finance director Deirdre Farrell what the procedure would be if one town approved the $4.1 million design funding in the spring of 2003, but the other town voted it down. Farrell responded, "If one town doesn't approve it, then the project stops." She added that the towns would have to develop "further plans."
Next meeting December 10
The regional school committee voted to accept the space utilization committee's plan. The next meeting of the RSC is on December 10 at 7:30. Discussion of the space utilization report will be on the agenda.
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito