The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, August 28, 2009

State signs Feasibility Agreement; Carlisle School design progresses

The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) has signed a Feasibility Study Agreement with Carlisle, a necessary step in the process of securing partial state reimbursement for the Carlisle School’s building project. After the Carlisle School Building Committee (SBC) received the news at their August 20 meeting, they agreed to execute a contract with architects HMFH for schematic design services, as well as an amended contract with Daedalus Projects for Owners Project Management (OPM) services during schematic design. The HMFH contract is for $239,000 and the Daedalus agreement is for $76,512, according to the minutes of the July 28 Board of Selectmen (BOS) meeting. The Selectmen authorized BOS Chair Tim Hult to sign the agreements on behalf of the town.

The proposed $20 million building project will include the replacement of the 54-year-old Spalding Building as well as renovations to other buildings on the campus. MSBA has given assurances of 40% reimbursement of approved project costs. Once design work is completed, both the town and the state will be asked for final project approval, prior to construction.


At an earlier meeting, the SBC agreed to hire Precision Land Surveyors to survey the property boundaries, at a cost of approximately $16,000. The SBC received two hazardous materials survey proposals, one from Universal Environmental Consultants (UEC) for $4,800 and one from Environmental & Construction Management Services for $19,370. After reviewing the proposals, the committee chose UEC. The HMFH Project Architect Arthur Duffy said he had confidence in UEC. He requested that UEC check the roof more thoroughly and thought this might raise the price above what was quoted. This will be discussed before the contract is signed.

The survey will include reviewing asbestos inspection reports and inspecting all school buildings for asbestos-containing materials, including floor and ceiling tiles and mastic, window and door putty, vapor barriers, glue on ceiling tile, soffit panels, ceiling and wall plaster, thermal insulation, fireproofing and roofing materials. OPM Sean Fennell of Daedalus said the school’s 2006 asbestos study was done in detail and he expected UEC to use it.

Bulk samples will also be collected to determine the presence of lead in accessible, mouthable painted surfaces. There will also be a visual inspection of light fixtures for PCBs and mercury. UEC will submit a final report with sample results, location and quantities of asbestos and hazardous materials and cost estimates for remediation.

Administrative offices

HMFH architect Laura Warnick said it was a challenge as to where to locate the central administrative office suite. The suite is to include: a superintendent’s office, an office for the assistant to the superintendent, a business manager’s office, a room for records, a general office space, a small waiting area and a conference room. There was discussion about putting central administration in the Brick Building which now serves as the middle school art room. Warnick showed several variations, but each room was smaller than what was needed if the conference room was to reside with the offices. One plan removed the conference room. Although that allowed enough space for the offices, it was not ideal, as administrators have meetings often.

Another idea for the location of the central administrative office suite was behind (past) the teachers’ room in an interior space that has no windows to the outside besides some skylights. Superintendent Marie Doyle worried that some administrators might object to working in a space for eight hours without seeing the outside. The architects suggested adding windows to the interior wall and the exterior wall across the hallway.

Brick Building renovation considered

If the Brick Building were to be used for central administrative offices, an art room for middle school would need to be relocated inside the school. Warnick suggested this same space, behind the teachers’ room, as a possibility. SBC member Janne Corneil expressed concern about moving an art room to a windowless space. SBC member Robert Wiggins pointed out there was a benefit to keeping students within the school envelope rather than having them go outside to the Brick Building.

Several SBC members were concerned about added costs should the Brick Building be renovated. The MSBA will not reimburse costs for administrative offices regardless of where they are located. Also, SBC member and Supervisor of (school) Buildings and Grounds David Flannery said the Brick Building had a 20-year old heating system and was not ADA-compliant. Fennell added that the “dollar-per-square-foot” cost to renovate the Brick Building will be high. Warnick said, “If cost is the driver, doing as little as possible to the Brick Building is the best solution.” She added, “That for the short term, we will look to keep the middle school art class where it is.”

New design idea proposed

At the last meeting, SBC members discussed two options for the location of the new building to replace Spalding. Most preferred siting the new building in the plaza area linking the Wilkins and Corey buildings. The alternative location had been next to the Corey Building extending down the hillside and into the parking lot. On August 20 Warnick gave two more good reasons to pick the Corey-Wilkins placement. “There is no economical way to put in an elevator from the parking lot to the plaza and that plan would add 30% to corridor space.”

She explained that they will try to keep the Spalding building in service during construction. “Re-housing kids will be expensive.” She had looked into taking part of Spalding down during construction and said that could not be done.

With that, Warnick presented a new layout for the Spalding replacement, with a two-story addition attaching to the end of the Wilkins building and coming out across the plaza, roughly parallel to the cafeteria. A courtyard would be formed between the addition and the cafeteria which could be used for the pre-K play area. The cafeteria’s stepped exterior wall would be extended and straightened out on the diagonal so an interior corridor could be formed to get students from Wilkins to the auditorium.

A big change would be to locate the school’s entrance on School Street. A new ramp would go where the Spalding Building is presently and bring visitors around to a central door on that side. The elementary and middle school principals’ offices would be on either side of the entrance hallway in the new building.

Past the offices would be a large, round area in the hallway, defined as a kiva, or stepped amphitheater, a place to gather two to three classes for a presentation or show. Off this main area would be the new elementary music room. No classrooms would be above the music room. The kiva and music room could be used for evening activities.

The new wing would be on the left of the entrance. On the first floor would be the nurse’s office and an examination room, OT (occupational therapy) and PT (physical therapy) areas and the Pre-K and kindergarten classrooms. On the second floor would be first and second grade classrooms.

SBC members were generally positive about the new design ideas. “They [HMFH] have integrated our comments from the last meeting,” said Corneil. “It’s an optimatization,” commented Wiggins. Doyle said the two-story rather than three-story solution works well educationally.

Warnick said that goals for energy efficiency, technology infrastructure, communication and security should be set in September. Fennell noted that space for Special Education will need to be approved by the state. Director of Student Services Karen Slack will be involved with that effort.

The next SBC meeting is scheduled for September 3 on 6:30 p.m. in the school library. ∆

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito