The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 8, 2010

School Building Committee meeting shorts, September 29

Site Plan Review. Carlisle School Building Committee (SBC) Chair Lee Storrs reported the results of the school building project site plan review conducted by the Board of Selectmen with input by many town boards and committees. SBC member Don Rober said the Selectmen asked that the area between the Robbins Building and the Wilkins Building be improved. The paved path between the buildings is cracked and uneven, and large puddles form after rainstorms. HMFH Architect Laura Wernick noted the work is “not in the scope of the project.” Storrs added, “They said, if we have money left over . . .” Member Bill Risso interjected, “We have other priorities if there is money left over.” Storrs said that the Selectmen will give them an updated version of the document by the end of the week.

Historical Commission permit. Storrs reported he is still working on the Historical Commission permit. The building plan calls for temporary fencing and clearing small brush on the corner of School and Church Streets. A fire access lane needs to be created near the current school entrance. That edge of the school grounds falls within the Historic District. Contacted later, Storrs explained, “We have had discussions [with the Historical Commission] regarding the work we are proposing in the Historic District including the temporary fence and fire road. They have commented on the plans as part of the comprehensive site review process but we will be submitting a permit for the work to the Historical Commission.”

ConsCom review. Making temporary changes to the land across from the First Religious Society may also involve a review from the Conservation Commission (ConsCom) to determine whether the work is in the 100 foot wetlands buffer zone, reported Storrs. There are wetlands in a small depression across the street on the First Religious Society land, said Storrs. Reached later, he said he attended the October 30 ConsCom meeting. “Based upon the type of work described and the fact that the area is maintained (as opposed to an area in a natural state),” he said, “the Conservation Commission indicated that an Order of Condition would not be required for this work.” He said the work involved included “driving U stakes, installing a green plastic fence fabric and removing cut brush inside the fence area. We still need approval from the Historical Commission.”

Plan for disruption. SBC member Robert Wiggins asked Superintendent Joyce Mehaffey if she has “gone through” the construction schedule with the school staff. “It is going to be like a war zone here,” he warned. Mehaffey said she is aware that it will be inconvenient. She has been discussing the situation with the staff and with Facilities Supervisor David Flannery. She is concerned about how students will move around the school campus after the Spalding Building is removed. “Our campus will be cut in half, and we can’t cross the plaza,” she said. Without the plaza for recess, she added, “we’re sort of stuck – we don’t have any place for the kids to play.” Wernick replied, “They can be out on the Castle. They can come down the Corey steps, through the parking lot” to the Carlisle Castle. Mehaffey said they were on top of the bus situation. During the construction the buses will be using the Spalding circle to drop off and pick up students. A trial run was held to be sure all the buses would fit around the circle. “We’ve looked at all these pieces,” Mehaffey said. “You have a pretty good handle on it,” said Wiggins.

Access to Corey. In order to get to the Corey Building during construction, students must exit the rear of the Wilkins Building, and follow a path to the rear of the Corey Building, and enter via the loading dock stairs. Mehaffey said the steps leading out the back of Wilkins and the loading dock stairs need to be covered and sides must be added to the stairs so younger students are kept safe. Railings must be added to the correct heights for all students. Although the stairs are not handicapped accessible, Mehaffey said currently the school does not have any students in a wheelchair. If necessary, students who cannot go down stairs will be transported via a van to Corey, she said. Storrs explained in an email, “We are planning on installing roof and sides to the existing stairs to facilitate maintenance in the winter. We are not planning on installing the additional temporary door or ramps discussed at the previous meeting.”

Kindergarten playground. The committee discussed moving the kindergarten playground or replacing it. The structure was installed in 2002 after community fundraising in 2001. Storrs said Owner Project Manager Sean Fennell, not present at the meeting, was concerned about moving the set. Moving the set “is close to the cost of a new set,” said Storrs. “There’s liability in having a contractor move it,” he added. Storrs said the cost of new equipment would be part of the project and the new structure could possibly be larger. Member Bill Fink said the play equipment was a gift to the school by generous donations from parents. He noted that the Carlisle School Committee would have to declare the equipment surplus in order to have it removed. Storrs said the same decision needs to be made about the pre-school play equipment.

Gas tie-in. Storrs reported after the meeting that the gas tie-in took place early on Friday, October 1, completing the utility project begun during the summer.

Toilet height. Joking that their conversation always returns to toilets, the committee reviewed the kindergarten teachers’ request to have standard-height toilets in the new bathrooms within their classrooms in the new Spalding Building. This would make it easier for the teachers to use the bathrooms, explained Mehaffey. Wernick replied, “We would have to get a variance from the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board.” The concern, Wernick said, is that the toilets be handicap accessible. Mehaffey said she would discuss the request with the teachers again. ∆

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