The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, August 24, 2007

News

RecCom explores space options in Carlisle School expansion

Carlisle School Building Committee member Christy Barbee attended the Recreation Commission (RecCom) meeting on August 13 to discuss how community as well as school recreation needs may be served by various options for expanding the Carlisle School facilities. Carlisle School Superintendent Marie Doyle and School Committee member Wendell Sykes joined the conversation.

Barbee reviewed the limitations in currrent classroom and office space that are spurring the school to update the buildings (see "New Carlisle School building plan discussed at forums," June 8, Mosquito.)

"The Spalding Building is the greatest focus for us," said Barbee. She said the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) has ranked the building as a "4", which means the building is in poor condition and is a possible candidate for renovation or replacement. The Spalding Building is 50 years old, the roof leaks, and there are mold problems due to excess moisture. "There are three large dehumidifiers going in the Robbins and Spalding Buildings," she said.

Barbee described the three options being considered by the School Building Committee. Currently the choices range in estimated cost from a low of $13 million for "the bare minimum" Option 1 to a high of $28 million for Option 3, which would include space for recreation, and other community use.

Option 3, with 60,000 square feet of space, includes all that is in Options 1 and 2, plus a gym, a multipurpose room, three more classrooms, a technical/engineering classroom, a kitchenette, Council on Aging (COA) offices, a Special Education office and a community center. Barbee points out, "This is still not everything our architects thought we needed." Cost estimates for each option assume construction will start in 2008. Barbee continued, "The next step is to get a design."

RecCom needs

Barbee asked the RecCom what facilities they needed. She noted the existing gym is in use all day as well as every night and weekend, and having another gym would be very advantageous for both the school and community. Superintendent Doyle said she would ask for a full gym.

Recreation Co-Director Cindy Nock thought RecCom could use two offices as well as the new gym and community program space. Currently, the Clark Room in Town Hall is used for a number of the recreation programs and Nock said, "They would like us out of this building." Nock added that there is an increase in the number of seniors participating in recreation programs.

COA space needs

RecCom Chair Allen Deary said the COA is also looking for space and he suggested Recreation share space with the COA. School Committee member Sykes said, "The need for more fitness areas will increase [as all the baby boomers get to retirement age.]

Parking and stairs to the school are also an issue. Barbee said, "No one is happy with the parking situation." With Option 3, the new building would have its entrance at the current parking lot level and there would be an elevator inside the building.

Tennis courts may go

Barbee said the tennis courts might be turned into a parking area. Nock mentioned the RecCom's plans to change the tennis courts into a basketball court, which might be used by students during recess, alleviating some of the overcrowding on the plaza. However, Deary did not want the tennis courts to be viewed as a constraint to any new construction.

Plans for Castle playground

Barbee said, "The Castle probably needs to come down or be replaced." She felt that area would be needed for temporary classrooms during construction, but added, "There is strong support to have a play area on campus."

Will school later

take back community space?

There was a discussion about the planned community center and whether the school might someday need to use that space for classrooms if enrollments increase. When asked if the school could make a commitment to keep that room for community use for at least five years, Barbee said, "I worry about promises we can't keep." However, Doyle felt a five- to ten-year commitment was doable.

Deary was in favor of combining the needs of the Recreation Department with those of the school and the COA. "It's the right thing to do for the community." He added he would like to see a long-term commitment to keeping space for Recreation at the school.

There will be a joint meeting between the Board of Selectmen and the School Building Committee on September 11.


2007 The Carlisle Mosquito