The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 6, 2009

CCHS Master Plan Committee discusses next steps

The next six weeks will be busy for those drawing up proposals for improvements to the Concord-Carlisle Regional High School (CCHS) building. The CCHS Facilities Master Plan Committee along with Office of Michael Rosenfeld (OMR) Architects will analyze existing conditions and space needs with the goal of developing a preliminary set of upgrade options by mid-December. According to the committee’s work plan (see Table 1), selected options are to be refined during January and a final master plan, with conceptual designs and cost estimates, is to be delivered to the Regional School Committee (RSC) in March.

At their meeting on October 28, the CCHS Master Plan Committee formally voted to hire OMR Architects to develop the master plan for $210,000. In the spring of 2009 Concord and Carlisle Town Meetings approved $250,000 for the master planning stage. CCHS Business Manager John Flaherty noted that of the remaining $40,000, almost $20,000 has already been encumbered for non-architectural costs.

The committee discussed the subcommittees that are needed for a school building project. CCHS Superintendent Diana Rigby suggested a communication subcommittee to hold community forums. Committee member Louis Salemy noted it was important to “sell the school to the towns.” Rigby suggested communicating with government groups. Chair Michael Fitzgerald suggested a separate group was needed “to focus on interacting with town groups” such as the Selectmen and finance committees of both towns. Concord Selectman Elsie Woodward reminded the committee that all Selectmen meetings are televised. It would be important, she added, to deliver updates to the Selectmen, perhaps in December and February. “We might take our cues from the architect as to deliverables or milestones.” she said.

Committee member Jerry Wedge said part of the charge of the committee is to look at various funding sources. Fitzgerald suggested a need for a finance subcommittee which would be charged to understand the financials of the project. Committee member John Boynton noted there may be a mix of private and public money supporting the building project. He said there were plenty of people with the capacity to donate funds to the project. “It is definitely worth serious investigation,” he said.

The committee reviewed the work plan and Wedge noted that the December 16 meeting “looks like a fork in the road.” He asked if there was enough time to develop preliminary options by that meeting. Architect Michael Rosenberg noted decisions would have to be made as they worked. “We need to take time to make sure everyone is on board with the vision. That’s how we measure the success of the plan,” he said.

Salemy noted that the RSC “needs to debate this for one or two meetings.” Wedge said that due to the involvement of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), the goals may not be realistic to realize by the end of December. Rigby agreed, “We don’t know what their (MSBA’s) timeframe is.”

Wedge said that about 50 to 80 people will be invited to participate in a “visioning” workshop to be held on November 14 at the Willard School. Rigby explained three “questions” will be discussed: What are the values, the needs and the expectations for student learning in the next 50 years for Concord and Carlisle. The next meeting of the CCHS Facilities Master Plan Committee will be at 6 p.m. on November 18 at the CCHS library. ∆

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito