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Newton Schools on Tight Timeline for Building Additions

The School Committee also welcomed two new administrators last night.

As the Newton School Department , the city and School Committee will look to make some major decisions in mid-June.

According to City Building Commissioner Stephanie Gilman, the Building Department expects to have the full, schematic design package for F.A. Day by mid-June in addition to construction documents for potential modular classrooms at several elementary schools.

Gilman said both the Public Buildings Department and the architects hired to look at the modular classrooms understand the “incredibly tight schedule” but that they are committed to working with the city and department to meet the deadlines.

According to a short-term facilities update from Deputy Superintendent/Chief Administrative Officer Sandy Guryan, the modular classrooms are on track for installation by October 2011. To view Guryan's memo and update, check out our photos and .pdf section above.

However, Gilman said the department is looking at September 2011 as a "goal" for the modular installation, and that the timeline could potentially be sped up by choosing to go with used modular classrooms that are three- or four-years old.

Gilman said the city will also look at a number of options for sprinkler systems, .

The design and plan for the modular classrooms are scheduled for approval from the Board of Aldermen’s Public Facilities and Finance Committees as well as the full board by June, according to Guryan’s update.

As for to help with classroom space at Burr Elementary, Gilman said the department has not heard back yet from the consultant who assessed the building. She added, though, that the city expects a report by next week.

According to Guryan's update, HMFH Architects, Inc. has been hired to design modular classrooms for , and (which has been recommended to receive two). The interior review of the buildings has been assigned to KBA Architects, Guryan said earlier this month, and the architects will help determine the feasibility of placing modular classrooms on the schools or other space solutions.

In terms of the potential additions at F.A. Day, , Gilman said the schematic drawings scheduled for June will give the committee a “good understanding” of the potential construction and preliminary cost estimates.  The drawings include floor plans, a site plan as well as some basic drawings for mechanical and electrical work.

By that time, the department should also have a better understanding of some potential construction obstacles, Chief of Operations Michael Cronin said. Some of those hurdles include whether classrooms can be built on top of Day’s roof, what type of ground is around the school to build on, and the level at which any asbestos in the school will be impacted by construction.

The timeline in Guryan’s memo, which was presented to the Board of Aldermen last week, shows a completion date of January 2013 for the F.A. Day construction project.

School Committee Chair Claire Sokoloff said it is likely the committee will keep the short-term facilities item on every agenda from now until the projects are approved.

Superintendent welcomes new administrators

Prior to last night’s facilities discussion, Superintendent David Fleishman introduced the : Ann Koufman-Frederick and Cindy Bergan.

Starting July 1, Koufman-Frederick will be Newton’s deputy superintendent for teaching and learning and Bergan will be the district’s assistant superintendent for secondary education and special programs.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be setting out on this journey and I am hopeful I can take both the new ideas I am learning…and the skills that I already have to build a secondary team that looks at the 6-12 education of students across all programs here at the Newton Public Schools,” Bergan said at the meeting.

Bergan, who is currently head of Newton North’s Math Department, worked as a math teacher at both North and F.A Day as well as assistant principal at North.

Koufman-Frederick, who is currently superintendent of schools in Watertown, said her new position in Newton is “a perfect fit.” The role of superintendent, she said, had “so many distractions” that took her away from what she was passionate about in education.

“I am inspired to work with you on the future of learning and to make sure Newton is leading the way and not just trying to catch up,” Koufman-Frederick said.

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