The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 3, 2008

Planning continues for Carlisle School Building project

The new Carlisle School building project manager, Sean Fennell of Daedalus Projects, Inc. was welcomed at the September 24 meeting of the School Building Committee (SBC). Discussion focused on steps needed to hire a design firm and to secure town funding of schematic design work for the project to replace the Spalding School Building and renovate other buildings on the school campus. The committee voted to request the Selectmen hold a Special Town Meeting as early as January to authorize funds for the schematics.

The designer must be hired according to Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) guidelines, in order for the project to be eligible for possible state reimbursement. The SBC is considering hiring HMFH Architects, Inc., the firm that prepared the school’s master plan in 2006.

According to School Business Manager Heidi Zimmerman, the Selectmen had asked for a full discussion of the town’s options take place before a decision was made. Advantages mentioned of using HMFH included that they are familiar with the school facility and have a track record. If MSBA allows the town to go with HMFH, Carlisle could save the couple of months required for a formal designer selection process. Fennel said that HMFH is among the roughly five firms that are the “cream of the crop” for this type of work.

On the other hand, Chair Lee Storrs said that by opening up the designer selection, new firms might bring new ideas. Other questions were raised about HMFH’s pricing and availability. It was decided to invite HMFH to meet with the building committee.

Uncertainties in the state reimbursement process worried committee members. Fennell said that in his experience with other schools, the state has required the towns assume 100% of the designer costs until a final project cost agreement is signed with MSBA for the school construction. The towns have had to accept the risk that if the school construction was voted down at the polls, the state would not reimburse the design costs already spent.

Zimmerman is drafting a letter to the state requesting written confirmation that MSBA reimbursement will be given for the cost of hiring Daedalus. After discussion, it was decided to also ask for written commitments for reimbursement of schematic design costs, and the 2006 school facilities master plan. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito