Sunday, September 27, 2009

Decision Making Time

The Longmeadow School Building Committee will be meeting on Wednesday, September 30 (6 PM, LHS cafeteria) to decide which school building option to move forward for approval by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). This is an important decision because it sets the path forward ending with a town meeting vote in April 2010 and a town election vote in June 2010.

At the last public forum on September 16 seven different options ranging from renovation to all new construction were presented to a group of ~ 150 town residents.

[click graphic to enlarge]

The presentation revealed that there has been a great amount of effort thoughtfully expended with a number of interesting options identified. The one that seemed to be the frontrunner in the discussion was called Option 2B. This option involved renovation of the 1971 section of the building (to preserve the pool and building wing in best condition), demolition of the remaining sections and the building a new addition of 190,000 sq ft for classroom and primary core spaces (see figure below).

[click graphic to enlarge]

Other than qualitative commentary, one important piece of information was missing from all of the options presented was cost. From what was presented, it appears likely that option 2B may be the most expensive choice since it will involve construction of 190,000 sq ft of new facility that is not considered “model school”. Options 3A and 3B will likely not be far behind. If the new Wilbraham-Hampden Regional HS cost is any indication, we should expect a pricetag of option 2B to be in the neighborhood of $70-80 million. It would have been of considerable value to have an estimated cost for each of the 6 options presented at this public forum. For a copy of the full presentation or to view the forum video, visit the SBC website.

At the SBC meeting on September 30 cost information for the six options will become available and used to make the final choice. According to Bob Barkett, co-chair this information will be presented at the beginning of the meeting.

Longmeadow is getting a chance to do something about its deteriorating high school facility and have the state of Massachusetts provide a large amount of the required funding. The SBC needs to make the choice that has the best probability of being accepted by the residents of Longmeadow. Because the state has ~ 160 other school building projects in the pipeline, it will be a long time before we will get another chance.

I wish the SBC much wisdom and good judgement with the decision that they make on Wednesday night.

No comments: