Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Floor Plan!

LINK Crew has happened. Some have been in the building for laptop pickup. It's really happening!

In case you were wondering where everything is, here's a floor plan to acquaint you. See you in a couple days for the ribbon cutting!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Into the Home Stretch

The ribbon cutting for the new school is just 21 days away!

In today's Boston Globe South section, there's an article on the new building. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Railings Issue

You may have noticed the article in the Clipper today about the citizen article (Article 30) on the Town Meeting warrant. Bob Doyle wants the railing height raised. (Full text of the article itself is not yet available online; we will link to it when it is available.)

We are so fortunate to have such caring and involved citizens in town. However, we do not believe this article has merit, and think it should be voted down.

Here's why:
  • The railings are the code minimum height of 42” which is the standard installed throughout the country in schools, malls, public facilities -- and the PAC.
  • Newly constructed schools in the region (Oliver Ames in Easton, Whitman-Hanson, Norwood, Plymouth North, Hanover, etc.) all have clerestory areas with railings of this height. 
  • Installation of a 6’ high guardrail constructed of a bar assembly would be very costly and have severe impact on the aesthetic of the building – it would look like a penitentiary!! 
  • Installation of a 6’ glass railing assembly would be even more costly and would require redesign of the ventilation system and atrium exhaust design (which was a very detailed modeling procedure requiring extensive computer analysis and review by DFD and their consultants).  It's unclear whether the existing ventilation and smoke exhausts systems would work with these areas closed off without extensive modifications.
  • The SBC discussed this issue at length with Mr. Doyle over the course of multiple meetings.  SBC never promised to raise the height of the railings.  They did promise to look into it and the architect proposed a couple options to raise the rail 6” but the SBC agreed that the additional height was not merited.  There is no data to suggest a 48” rail will prevent any of the events Mr. Doyle asserts. 
  • The article has no mechanism for funding a change that would be extremely costly both for installation itself and subsequent delays.  The railings are completely installed.
  • The article also ties in the construction of these 6’ railings tied into obtaining an occupancy permit.  The only one with authority to provide an occupancy permit is the Building Inspector and since these are designed to code there is no justification not to grant occupancy.  This has been confirmed by Town Counsel and the State Building Official.
  • The building has been designed with safety in mind in every possible way; the railings are not the only safety mechanism in the Atrium. There are extensive security features installed as well and the layout of the school and corridors provides clear sight lines for the teachers and administration to view every corridor from multiple locations.  The perfect square: stand on one corner and see down both hallways (Two teachers to monitor four corridors.)
Again, we're fortunate to have caring and involved individuals in town. My Doyle did his part in bringing his concerns to the School Building Committee where it was more than adequately addressed.

We're on the home stretch of the building project and are so excited to see it open to the students in the fall!

Town Meeting begins on Saturday March 8 in the PAC. Please come and be part of the process. Article 30 is not likely to come up on the first day, so we hope you will come on subsequent days as well!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Accounting Procedures: Clarifying Article 14 of Special Town Meeting

Upon reading the OpEd on the Duxbury Clipper website today, we were surprised and not the least bit amused to see that the author is claiming “shenanigans” around the school building project for Town Meeting. What shenanigans, we wondered? While we can’t speak to any of the other issues mentioned, we’re happy to tell you about the school building project issue. The school building project issue has no fiscal impact and is supported by the Selectmen, the Finance Committee and the Fiscal Advisory Committee. There is nothing to hide!

The author is referring to Article 14 of the Special Town Meeting, a sort of Town Meeting within Town Meeting to deal with immediate bookkeeping issues – issues where funds need to be made available before beginning of the fiscal year on July 1.

Almost two years ago, there was an allocation error while creating the budget for the building project. Some money that was supposed to have been allocated into the fieldhouse contingency fund was not. It’s disappointing, but it’s water under the bridge at this point. Since all aspects of the project were voted and approved by the town, changes like this also have to be voted and approved. Article 14 allows the building committee to move some funds from one account to another -- in this case, from the main fund to the contingency fund for the fieldhouse where it is needed to address several unexpected issues: minor cost increases, unmapped underground utilities, and unknown buried structures. The amount of funds needed for the fieldhouse (the amount to be transferred) are offset in the main fund primarily by savings realized in the construction of the administrative offices.

If the vote to move funds is successful:
  • The accountant moves money out of one account and into another, making it available to complete the fieldhouse.
  • The fieldhouse is completed on time, likely in time for fall football season.
  • There is no additional amount added to the project as a whole, no additional cost to the taxpayer, and no additional impact to your tax bill. There is NO fiscal impact in voting to approve this accounting procedure.
If the vote to move the funds is unsuccessful:
  • Taxpayers will not see a refund or lowering of the tax bill as a result.
  • The fieldhouse will be “occupyable” – as long as you think no floor, no utilities, no lockers or benches, and an empty shell of a building is “occupyable.”
  • We’ll need to organize a group to advocate for additional funds for the fieldhouse at next spring’s town meeting, and at that point it might cost the taxpayers more. 
Yes, that’s all. No shenanigans, no new project scope, no additional funds, no deception. Just some accounting – and accounting that has been okayed by the Selectmen, the Finance Committee and the Fiscal Advisory Committee.

But what does this mean to you? It means we could use a presence -- YOUR presence -- early at Town Meeting to be absolutely sure this passes. 

Town Meeting begins at 9AM Saturday morning, March 9, 2013. We’ll see you there. (And please stay for the day!)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Amendment Fails

The amendment -technically a motion, actually - as failed overwhelmingly.

The motion was to rescind funds for furniture and equipment, administrative space, and the field house.

Betsy Sullivan, Gary Magnuson, Ted Flynn, and others spoke eloquently against this. Even Will Zachmann noted that the people had spoken on this topic. Mrs. Sullivan noted the Finance Committee only saw this at 1:45PM. "Sneaky," "bad taste," and "deceitful" we're all terms used in comments against.

For those of you able to come to Town Meeting, thank you! Thanks to all of you for your continued support!

Field House in Jeopardy

We have further details for you.

Colleen Brayer plans to offer an amendment to article 12 to rescind all funding for the field house.

The would be bad because:

We need locker rooms and toilets to legally use the turf field, and retrofitting current facilities is cost-prohibitive.

It will cost less to do this as part of a bigger project than solo a few years from now

Contracts have been signed

The people have already spoken in two town meetings and two elections

PLEASE get to Town Meeting this afternoon to vote down this amendment.


We've received word from inside Town Meeting that someone may try to rescind part of the money for the school building project. Yes, really. Apparently a person can make a motion from the floor -- and, without a subsequent ballot vote -- the money would be gone. Gone.

We'll continue to monitor what is going on, but the bottom line is that if you can get to Town Meeting today, PLEASE DO!! A showing may be enough to stop this person -- and if a motion is already on the floor, it's too late to go into TM. PLEASE show this person/persons that the schools and the school building project continue to have our support.

We'll update as we can -- but please show your face at Town Meeting. Other town issues would benefit from your input as well.

THANKS!! And we'll be in touch again today, I'm sure....