The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 15, 2010

State aid offer for Carlisle School building project lower than hoped

One of the most anticipated meetings for the Carlisle School Building Committee (SBC) was held on Wednesday morning, January 13. Committee representatives met in Boston with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) to learn the total project reimbursement amount to be offered to the school building project. The good news was that MSBA confirmed they would reimburse 40% of eligible costs for the roughly $20 million project. However, the bad news was that roughly $4.3 million of the project costs did not qualify for reimbursement. Forty percent of the $15.2 million in qualifying project costs translates into a total reimbursement offer of about $6 million.

Board of Selectmen Chair Tim Hult attended the meeting and admitted the offer was “lower than we would have liked.” Carlisle questioned some of the calculations used by the state. MSBA staff agreed to review their proposal and will send a revised offer to the town by Thursday morning. Hult said that he hoped the offer would increase, but he did not expect it to approach the $8 million expected if the entire project qualified for reimbursement. “We know it will not be $8 million.”

He explained that there was a list of items that were excluded by MSBA, including the amount of administration space and the use of the “mistake room,” a space in the Corey Building currently used for storage. The SBC is to review the list at length at a joint meeting with the Carlisle School Committee and the Board of Selectmen on Thursday, January 14, at 7 p.m. in the school library (after the Mosquito goes to press.) Hult said that the group “will go through an explanation of the process of why the $4.3 million was not included. We will then decide what to do.”

Carlisle has about a week to consider the MSBA’s grant amount. Hult said, “We could accept it, or we could say no, or we could work with them to look for a way to reconfigure the project in hopes of a higher level of compensation.” If the offer is accepted, the project will go to the MSBA Board on January 27 for approval. After the MSBA signs an agreement, Carlisle has 120 days from the date of the MSBA approval to vote the construction funds at a Town Meeting.

Design discussions continue

At their meeting on January 7, the SBC reviewed a letter to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) from Provencher Engineering, LLC regarding the Wilkins school well. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has expressed concerns regarding blasting within the Zone 1 radius around the location of the Wilkins well. Provencher detailed how bedrock excavation will be handled inside Zone 1 (by “hoe-ramming” or digging out the ledge), and outside the zone, either by blasting or digging. The letter also addressed storm water, which will be directed away from Zone 1 by use of a subsurface stormwater infiltration system.

Committee member Bill Fink asked if one or two classrooms in the new addition could be soundproofed to make them available as music rooms. Superintendent Marie Doyle said that while enrollment was low extra classrooms would be available for use. She also said that students are involved in designing new playgrounds and are coming up with exciting ideas, though the current building project does not include replacing the Carlisle Castle.

First grade teacher Linda Vanaria asked if windows in the addition could be opened and explained that there are times when fresh air is desirable in classrooms, for instance to clear the air of strong odors. Fennell said it was possible to have windows that could open and would discuss it with architect Warnick. Reached later, Storrs explained, “The displacement air system will deliver conditioned air to the rooms in the building at a very low velocity and at 65 degrees. The air then rises as it warms and is removed from the space up high where it is discharged from the building (it is not re-circulated). This is the ventilation portion of the HVAC system.

“In addition, each classroom will have individual thermostats and baseboard heat for individual space temperature control. Reasons the engineer is recommending this system include: that it is more efficient to operate, provides more healthy room environment and is less costly than a conventional system. We plan on including operable windows in each of the classrooms. The number of operable windows will need to be accounted for in the HVAC system design when we move into detailed design as operable windows are less energy efficient and can negatively impact the balance of the HVAC system.” ∆

© 2010 The Carlisle Mosquito