The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 24, 2003


Architects lay out plans for school campus expansion

Finding space to build on the current Carlisle Public School campus is like fitting the pieces of a puzzle together. At the January 13 meeting of the school building committee, Alex Pitkin of SMMA Architects said the project called for a "unique solution to a public school dilemma:" how to fit additional classrooms and expand common areas such as the play plaza, gym and cafeteria in a limited space.

The school feasibility study was approved at the Fall Town Meeting in 2001 to look at possible building sites to accommodate increasing enrollments at the school. Ten-year enrollment projections anticipate 1,200 students, according to Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson: 825 in preschool to grade 5, and 375 in grades 6-8. The projected number of students in each K-8 grade level is 125, with fewer students in the preschool classes.

Construction in four phases

Any potential construction on the campus would be phased to spread out costs over several years. Phased construction would also reduce the impact of the major construction project on daily school operations.

The total project, as currently estimated, would cost approximately $29 million. Pitkin said the costs address legitimate needs at the school and reflect realistic costs. "We didn't want to sugar-coat the numbers," he said. Building committee chair Paul Morrison emphasized that these are preliminary numbers. "There is a lot of flexibility in what pieces of the plan can be picked for implementation. SMMA has designed the project so that construction and finances can be phased," he said.

Phase one

In phase one, a new early education center would be built for preschool to grade 2 on the present site of the Carlisle Castle playground. The new building would house two pre-kindergarten classes and five classes each for kindergarten, grade 1 and grade 2. Cur-rently the school has one preschool class, four kindergarten and first-grade classes, and five second-grade classrooms.

In a preliminary estimate by architects, this first phase would cost approximately $9 million, including design and construction costs.

Phase two

In phase two, the Spalding Building, which now houses kindergarten through grade two, would be demolished to make way for an expansion of the current play plaza; a new expanded parking lot would be created off School Street; and a new library/media center would be built. The current library is too small, said Pitkin. With 1,200 students anticipated over the next ten years, a 6,000-square-foot library is typical, he said.

The proposed second phase would cost approximately $4 million, including design and construction costs, furnishings, equipment and additional books.

An additional parking lot off of School Street would improve access to the multi-level campus. The lot would be part of a new entryway to the campus from School Street. The plans also call for an new school bus area in the present lot off Church Street.

Phase three

In phase three, the present Robbins, Wilkins and Grant buildings housing the upper elementary and middle school students would be renovated, with some expansion. The proposed third phase, would cost approximately $5 million, including design and construction costs, furnishings and equipment.

Phase four

In phase four, the Corey Building, which houses the gymnasium, cafeteria, music and art rooms, would be renovated and expanded. An additional 11,000-square-foot gym is proposed for a site to be developed in front of the present gymnasium. The existing cafeteria and kitchen would be expanded, and the music program would gain an additional class and practice space. A new art room is also proposed. The fourth phase would cost approximately $11 million, including design and construction costs, furnishings and equipment.

Alternative Banta-Davis plan

As part of this feasibility study, the architects will also provide an alternate plan for building a possible second school for preschool to grade 2 on the Banta-Davis town land off Bedford Road. This will be discussed at the next meeting on Monday, January 27 at 7 p.m. in the Spalding conference room. The meeting is open to the public.

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito