Friday, March 19, 2010
FinCom favors Carlisle School building project
After three days of steady rain, one might expect the Finance Committee (FinCom) to be discussing the cost of building an ark or whether to consider the sudden appearance of lakefront property in Carlisle as “New Growth.” Instead, with the hope of brighter days ahead, members invited Lee Storrs, chair of the School Building Committee (SBC), to their March 15 meeting to review plans to build a new school. At the conclusion of their discussion, the FinCom unanimously approved funding the school renovation project.
“As you know, the SBC has requested a Special Town Meeting for April 5,” began Storrs. “This will be for funding of the balance of the school building project at a cost of about $19,550,000. The town appropriated $450,000 at the last Town Meeting.” Storrs broke the $20M total cost into three major cost categories, beginning with the new addition, which is for pre-K through second grade. It accounts for $12.3M and is a two story building that “comes straight off of Wilkins and also connects to Corey.”
The next component is $4.4M for repairs, which includes a number of items that are currently on the Long-Term Capital Requirements funding list such as the roofs on Corey, Wilkins and Robbins. Also funded is an information technology upgrade, including wireless, plus replacement of the lockers and some air handlers (five on Corey and two on Robbins) and the ventilators in Wilkins. The new building will feature “displacement type air.” It’s not air conditioning but does remove some of the moisture. “It comes in at a constant 65° at a very low velocity and uses the natural tendency of air to rise as it warms up and then it’s displaced out,” said Storrs.
The third component is a limited scope of renovation to the existing buildings at a cost of $3.3M. This includes three secondary classrooms in Robbins, which will get renovated into multi-purpose rooms and also used for choral and elementary music. The pre-K classroom in the back corner of Grant will be converted into an engineering and technology classroom and the sixth grade science room will get some sinks. Administration office space currently in Spalding will move into renovated space and the school nurse moved closer to the new addition. “And then Spalding gets demolished,” said Storrs.
“The MSBA [Mass. School Building Authority] gave us eligible costs of just under $17.5M with $6.9M in reimbursement,” said Finance director Larry Barton. “There was about $2.5M that they deemed ineligible. They don’t fund administrative space and didn’t cover funding of some classroom movement.” Plans call for construction to begin in January of 2011 and be completed in September of 2012, with occupation of the new addition by April 2012. School will continue in the existing classrooms throughout the project, thereby negating the need to rent any trailers.
Commission member David Model concluded the presentation with, “I move that the Finance Committee recommend approval of the Warrant Article requesting funding for the completion of the design and construction of the school building project.” The motion was approved by a vote of 6-0.
Annual Town Meeting Warrant reviewed
In other business, Town Administrator Tim Goddard distributed the latest copy of the Warrant for the Annual Town Meeting in May to allow the FinCom to take a position on each article when they met on Monday, March 15. The Warrant contains 31 articles and FinCom members proceeded one-by-one to recommend approval of all articles related to town finance.
The one article that will require some rephrasing or even removal was Article 29, Cranberry Bog House Repairs. FinCom does not oppose this funding, but realized that the funding is included in Article 21, CPA Annual Authorization. Barton explained that if Article 21 is not approved by the town and voters then approve Article 29, taxpayers could get caught with an additional cost of $165,000. FinCom also decided to delay taking a position on Article 16, borrowing authorization for the Concord-Carlisle Regional High School Feasibility Study, until more information is available.
The Board of Health hoped to use funds from the Community Septic Loan Program to offset administrative costs related to that program and Health Agent Linda Fantasia received a letter from the Department of Environmental Protection authorizing them to do so. Barton noted that this removes a $6,000 cost from the FY11 budget. He will generate and distribute a new copy of the final budget with this and other recent changes. The next regular meeting of the FinCom is scheduled for April 12, during which members will prepare for their annual public hearing on April 26 prior to Town Meeting. ∆
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