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January 23, 2007 Facilities Forum
RANDOLPH AND PITTSTON SCHOOL FACILITIES COMMUNITY FORUM
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
PRESENT:Mrs. Paradee, Chair, Mr. Rogers, Vice-Chair, Mrs. Dunn, Mrs. Fles, Mr. Hunnewell, Mr. Jermyn, Mrs. Kelley, Mrs. Shaw, Mr. Shea, Mr. Taylor, Dr. Knowles, Mrs. Leathers
Twenty-eight citizens, sixteen staff members
ABSENT: Mr. Brown, Mr. King
Mrs. Paradee called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. and declared a quorum present.
Dr. Knowles stated the purpose of the meeting was to have a conversation about the future of Pittston School. T.C. Hamlin and Pittston are the oldest buildings in the District. He stated Pittston was built in the early sixties with an addition in the 90Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s. He presented a list of inadequacies as cited by the DistrictÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s architect Stephen Blatt. He stated buildings are built for a finite amount of time and although the District can maintain the building for some years to come, there is a limit to what can be done.
1. Kitchen is small and limited Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the smallest in the District
2. Combination gym and cafeteria
3. Asbestos tile in the hallway Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but is encapsulated and not friable
4. Heating and ventilation is old
5. Has two roofing systems Ã¢â‚¬â€œ spent $20,000 on one section of roof which will last approximately 5 years
6. Storage is an issue
He listed three options Ã¢â‚¬â€œ
1. Fixing refurbishing and keeping the building going as long as possible
2. New construction project Ã¢â‚¬â€œ probably ten years out
3. New consolidated construction project for Pittston and Randolph
He asked for questions and comments;
1. Which plant costs the most to operate and what is the per student
ratio to costs? Dr. Knowles stated that information was not available but he would get it.
2. What is the feasibility of adding on to either school? There is no way to add on to Hamlin and the options at Pittston are very limited. Any new construction would require the entire building being brought up to code. He stated the State requires ten to fifteen good acres of land for construction and Pittston does not have that large a lot.
3. If a new school was built would it have to go somewhere else? Yes
4. If a new school was not built in the near future and the GovernorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s proposal goes through will someone else make the decision? Dr. Knowles stated Pittston would be a small town in a twenty-three town District Ã¢â‚¬â€œ with only 15 Board members who would make the decision.
5. How can people pay $15,000,000 for a new school? Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Dr. Knowles
reminded the audience that the State would pick up 70% of the cost
with 30% local costs spread over a twenty year span. He stated the
number of students would stay the same and teachers would not lose
6. Are enrollment rates done on a State level? The District had an
enrollment study done specifically for MSAD #11. He stated the
further out you go in time, the less reliable a study is.
7. An audience member commented that younger children need to be in town. She was also concerned about whether other towns would vote for a new school for Pittston.
8. What would be the difference in money for building a consolidated school versus two schools. Dr. Knowles stated the costs would be about the same - $15,000,000 for a consolidated school or $15,000,000 each for two individual buildings.
9. Would District decide as a whole what to do with both schools? Would the town have any more say about the building than other towns in the District? Hamlin would be offered to the town Ã¢â‚¬â€œ if they accept it itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s theirs. Pittston was built with District money so the town of Pittston would have first refusal.
10. Do you research alternate uses of schools? Dr. Knowles stated the Board doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do that, it would be up to the towns.
11. What will you do with schools in the next ten years? Dr. Knowles stated right now they are both K-5 buildings that are at capacity.
12. Are either of the schools in such a condition that they would be
replaced sooner than ten years. Dr. Knowles stated that members of the State Facilities Office who had inspected the buildings felt that an application would fall somewhere in the middle of the list. He stated that if other schools in the State were in worse condition, they would go to the top of the list.
13. The Site does not meet minimum State requirements of 10 acres, but
could we add on to this building? Maybe the cost would only be
$5,000,000 instead of $15,000,000. Dr. Knowles stated the options for adding on to the building were limited and what would you add Ã¢â‚¬â€œclassrooms, kitchen, cafeteria? There is not enough space to combine the two schools with an addition.
14. Have we thought about adding insulation for the roof to save on
15. Have we looked at what we would pay for maintenance on keeping
two schools going for thirty years? Would it be more than paying
for new construction? Dr. Knowles stated he would try to project
some costs before the next meeting.
16. If we consolidated , would the school be in Pittston? If that is where you could find fifteen acres of land.
17. It is cheaper to run one school than two. The savings in maintenance
could be set aside to help fund the schools. Mrs. Paradee reminded the
audience that the District could not set aside a reserve fund, but the
budget would be reduced by the lower maintenance costs.
18. If there were two schools built, would both schools need a kitchen?
Could some services be consolidated in one school?
19. Can we get maintenance costs from Hall-Dale elementary so we could compare what we are spending on two schools. Dr. Knowles stated Hallowell will not know until the year is over, but we could probably get figures then.
20. How are taxes assessed Ã¢â‚¬â€œ cost of school would be borne by the District. Mrs. Leathers reminded the audience their share of the debt service is determined by the valuation of Pittston as compared with the District as a whole.
21. If physical education, music and library services are offered only once a week, why not add the room for those to one facility and make it available for all students?
22. Are you going to ask taxpayers to vote Ã¢â‚¬â€œ or will you just listen to
peoples comments. Dr. Knowles stated any construction project will
need to be voted on by the District.
Mrs. Paradee asked if citizens were comfortable with a straw poll vote. The following votes were recorded:
1. Maintain the school for as long as possible - 5
2. New school for Pittston - 7
3. Consolidated school for Randolph and Pittston - 12
Mrs. Paradee thanked members of the audience for their input.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:20 p.m.