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WVN #20: high school project costs

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  • waylandvoters2
    WAYLAND VOTERS NETWORK June 17, 2004 Dear Wayland Voter, Architects working on the high school project will begin to present cost estimates to the High School
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 17, 2004
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      June 17, 2004

      Dear Wayland Voter,

      Architects working on the high school project will begin to present
      cost estimates to the High School Building Committee at its meeting
      tonight, June 17, 7:30pm, Town Building School Committee Room (2nd
      floor). The HSBC is considering three options for modernizing the
      high school. It will present these to the public at a forum on July
      8. The following week, the committee will select one option that
      voters eventually will be asked to approve. If you cannot attend the
      July 8 forum, you can still learn about the three options and give
      your feedback to the committee if you attend their Thursday night
      meetings between now and July 8. Tonight's meeting is important.
      It's the first time that cost estimates for the three options will be
      presented to a regular meeting of the HSBC.

      At last week's HSBC meeting (June 10), I raised three points during
      the public comment period:
      1) I asked the committee to consider including public comments in
      their meeting minutes; otherwise there is no written, public record
      of public input during meetings. The chair seemed amenable, but when
      the committee was asked to approve the minutes of the previous
      meeting (June 3), no one amended the minutes to include public
      comments made at that meeting. The minutes of last week's meeting
      have not been posted on the Town web site, so I don't know if public
      comments will be included in those minutes.
      2) A member of the public at the previous meeting asked the
      committee to consider meeting in the Selectmen's meeting room in the
      Town Building, so that HSBC meetings can be broadcast on Wayland
      cable TV. The HSBC did not discuss this idea when it was first
      suggested, so I suggested it again last week. The chair said the
      table in the Selectmen's room is not big enough to accommodate the
      3) At the start of last week's meeting, the committee distributed a
      schedule of Meeting Milestones/Decision Date Targets. According to
      this schedule, there will be a public forum on Aug. 26 on the one
      option the HSBC will have selected, and the cost, schedule and
      phasing of that option will be presented on Sept. 9. (Does this mean
      the cost will not be presented at the Aug. 26 public forum? I don't
      know.) Anyway, given this schedule, I said during public comment
      that it appears that enough information will be known soon enough to
      place the high school question on the ballot during the November
      presidential election, when likely voter turnout will be about three
      times as high as the typical turnout for Town-only elections. My
      observation was not well received. Someone said there would not be
      enough time to publicize the issue if the vote were held in early
      November. The chair said my point was "noted."

      Speaking of public comment, an important point was raised at this
      week's School Committee meeting (June 14). A resident expressed
      concern about the Master Plan projects, which have short timelines of
      one to five years and will be very costly. Committee members were
      given copies of page 191 of the Master Plan, which lists all the
      projects including a new library, new community center, improvements
      to Wayland and Cochituate centers, new fire station in N. Wayland,
      road maintenance, three different water projects, the high school
      project, and many others. She said she feels we will need state
      reimbursement money for the high school project because of all these
      other projects, and asked if we could possibly delay the ballot vote
      on the high school project until we know for sure that we will
      receive state money for it.

      WVN subscriber and regular School Committee meeting attendee Tom
      Sciacca sends this report on the main business at this week's SC

      The School Committee heard a report from the architect and project
      manager on the status of the high school project. They heard that
      the HSBC and the professionals had pushed back on the school
      administration's requests because it was felt that the bottom line
      would be unreasonably high if the requests had been met. For
      example, according to architect Doug Sacra, the original request for
      900 square foot classrooms had been knocked down to 800 square feet,
      which is still 50 square feet more than the old state minimums. Even
      so, these classrooms will be much larger on average than the existing
      rooms. The arts and athletic facilities will be substantially larger
      than in other comparable schools, but this is being justified because
      of allegedly higher participation rates in these activities in
      Wayland than in most other schools.

      According to the architect, no option is being presented which is
      bare minimum, that is, only meeting building needs, rather than
      educational needs as presented by the administration. And an even
      more basic-needs project, which he called "asset stabilization"
      (simply restoring buildings to their original conditions), is not
      being considered because it wouldn't be fundable under the state's
      SBA program (assuming SBA funding actually becomes available again).

      Everyone in the room was clearly holding their breath, but the
      architect refused to offer any numbers at this point. (Editor's
      note: reminder that the numbers, i.e., cost estimates for the three
      options under consideration, will be presented at tonight's High
      School Building Committee meeting, 7:30pm, Town Building School
      Committee Room.)

      Thank you for reading this WVN newsletter. Please forward it to your
      friends and neighbors in Wayland. If they want to receive their own
      copy, they can send an email to waylandvoters2@... and they
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      information from WVN by phone or regular mail should leave a message
      at (508) 358-9171.

      Wayland Voters Network
      Margo Melnicove, Chair
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