The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 4, 2008


RecCom considers Highland use

The Highland Building front steps are blocked off and in need of repair. (Photo by Marjorie Johnson) .

Would the Highland Building be a suitable location for town recreation programs? On March 26, the Highland Building Study Committee considered this, and other possible uses for the old building, located on the edge of the Carlisle School campus.

Selectman and Highland Committee member Alan Carpenito reported that Carlisle Recreation Director Holly Hamilton has expressed interest in using part of the building, perhaps the second floor. He described this idea as a “natural fit.” Recreation Commission (RecCom) personnel have all passed Criminal Offender Record Information Act (CORI) regulations, and many of the RecCom programs are designed especially for children. Highland Committee member John Ballantine noted, “If the school administration were to use the building as well as RecCom, there would be a [security] monitoring system in place.” Discussion ensued about possible shared uses between the RecCom and the school.

The committee noted that it would be possible to apply for Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding for a restoration project by teaming with the RecCom. This option will be investigated and was placed on the list of possible dispositions of the building.

The committee also canvassed the idea of using the building at night for Concord-Carlisle Adult and Community Education. All committee members expressed the need to coordinate their efforts with the Carlisle School Committee (CSC) and school administration, in the hope that any list of options to be presented to the town would have the support of these bodies.

CORI issues

CSC and Highland Committee member Dale Ryder reported that she had checked on the CORI regulations and has concluded that if the building remains where it is, only people who would have direct contact with schoolchildren would have to be CORI’d. A general discussion of security and the School Committee’s concerns about safety on the school campus ensued. Carpenito commented: “We need to look at our recommendations as if through the eyes of the School Committee.”

Former tenant interviewed

Phyllis Hughes, a Carlisle resident and artist, who rented a studio in the Highland Building under Emerson Umbrella’s tenure, was invited by Carpenito to speak at the committee meeting. The CSC asked the artists to move out by January 1 after the CSC failed to reach agreement with Emerson Umbrella in lease negotiations last fall. Hughes was asked to advise the study group on the feasibility of using the building as artists’ studios again. Since all the artists who had used the building had just spent money to move on and set up in new studios elsewhere, Hughes felt there is very little chance that any of them would return and that the chances of getting new artists to use the building are equally small.

She did, however, express her wish that the building be restored and used. “I have a list,” she said, “of the eight original teachers who taught in the building when it opened. I’ve prepared wooden plaques with their names on them, so that the rooms could be named after those original teachers.”

Meeting with the Superintendent

The committee has developed a list of questions to ask School Superintendent Marie Doyle and plans to set up a meeting with her to gain her input. Questions include possibilities for the use of the building, security issues, the building’s possible impact on the school building project and a variety of other school-related topics.


CSC member Wendell Sykes has stepped down from the Highland Committee by sending a letter of resignation to the Selectmen. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito