The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 20, 2009

SBC tries to minimize impact of construction on school

Gray area indicates estimated work area to be closed off during the proposed Carlisle School building project. The new building will be located on the plaza in the right side of the work area (see drawing below.)

How might the proposed construction project impact daily activities at the Carlisle School? HMFH architects and the School Building Committee (SBC) considered possible impacts to traffic flow, buildings, student lunch and recess at their meeting on November 12.

For instance, isolating the work zone during construction of the proposed new K-2 building will affect pedestrian and vehicle traffic flow. The work zone will be located in a central, high-traffic area of the school campus near the stairs leading to the Corey Building (see map). Concerns were raised regarding how students will be dropped off and picked up by buses and by parents, and how students will safely travel from other buildings to the Corey Building.

Architect Doron Bracha suggested using the Spalding circle on School Street as an alternative bus driveway during construction. The committee determined they needed further information on whether the adjacent Congregational Church parking area could be used for school buses and might be available during school hours. Parents might be asked to drop off and pick up students at the rear of the Corey Building by the loading dock. A path might also be created in that area to allow access from Corey to other buildings while bypassing the construction zone.

Bracha noted two first-grade classrooms in the Spalding Building may need to be vacated during the construction to allow outside walls to be removed. School Superintendent Marie Doyle said that due to falling enrollment there would be room in the Robbins building to relocate the first-grade classes. However, SBC member Bill Risso cautioned that demolishing parts of Spalding at an earlier date might cost more than demolishing the entire building at the end of the project.

Bracha also broached the idea that the Corey dining room might not be usable at some point during the construction. Doyle responded that students could eat lunch in their classrooms temporarily, if necessary.

Plans call for a new building for classes preK-Grade 2 to be located adjacent to the Wilkins and Corey School Buildings. Once the new building is complete, the Spalding Building is to be removed. (Courtesy HMFH)

Energy savings questioned

Architect Laura Wernick presented an estimate on the energy savings payback time for various renovations planned for the Wilkins Building. Upgrading the exterior walls, windows and roof would provide limited savings in energy efficiency, according to the report by the engineering firm Garcia, Galuska, DeSousa, Inc. For instance, improving the walls gained a savings of only $6,728 after 13 years, while no other updates had a payback within the estimated 20-year lifetime of the building. However, members of the building committee questioned the electric and gas costs used in the analysis, and asked for clarification. Committee chair Lee Storrs said the list will be “revisited later.”

Technical integration

Committee member Don Rober said the technology subcommittee plans to provide the SBC with a “minimal, medium and maximum” estimate for the cost of the engineering lab. He said, “The teachers are saying we don’t want the educational program driven by what is built” and they want a say about what should be built. The technology subcommittee also suggested that cost estimates made so far may not include training. Carlisle’s Owner Project Manager Sean Fennell replied that training had been included, and Wernick agreed.

“We want electronically transparent walls so wireless access can pick up the signal in the next classroom,” said Rober, which Wernick agreed would be included in the new building. “A bigger issue is to integrate the backbone IP [computer technology] network, and connect things like the school clocks to the network,” said Rober. Wernick noted that some suggestions may be outside the scope of the current project.

A technology meeting is tentatively scheduled for November 24. Doyle said she has discussed technology needs with the Carlisle Education Foundation (CEF). “I’ve asked them to hold funds,” she said. She suggested townspeople could contribute to the CEF for technology support at the school.

Invoice handling

The current process of approving invoices for the school building project is slow, Carlisle Town Treasurer Larry Barton said, and indicated he would like to speed up the cycle. “HMFH shouldn’t have to wait for payment,” he added. Invoice approval is on a two-week cycle because the Selectmen must vote on the invoices and they meet every two weeks. Barton said, “I can work out almost anything other than the timetable of when to put invoices in front of the Selectmen.” Doyle suggested forming a small group of signees so invoices could be processed sooner.

Of the $450,000 approved at the May Town Meeting for the project design phase, roughly $251,000 has been spent to date. Wernick estimated the architects have billed about 75% of the costs of the current phase. “We’re working right along and aiming to be done by December 4” in order to present the finished proposal to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) on December 17. ∆

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito