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School Facilities: Day, Angier Projects Move Forward; South Science Lab on Hold

At its last meeting for the school year, the Newton School Committee received a lengthy update last night on a number of school facilities projects in the district, including projects at Carr, F.A. Day, Angier and Newton South.

While the and the are moving along as expected, a Newton South science lab upgrade may have hit a speed bump.

During a school facilities update last night, Deputy Superintendent/Chief Administrative Officer Sandy Guryan told the School Committee the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) did not initially accept Newton South for the MSBA Science Lab Initiative.

However, Guryan said there still may be a chance could join the program.

"[The MSBA] hasn't actually said 'no', but they need more information," Guryan said. 

Although the MSBA informed Newton earlier this month that Newton South would not be in the program, a follow-up letter indicates that MSBA officials would like to meet with Newton officials to review numbers and ask additional questions. 

The program, Guryan explained, provides funding to improve science teaching and learning spaces and labs. Ten schools will be selected for the program.

Newton South will not be considered for the program at an upcoming board meeting, Guryan said, but there is "still a chance" it may be included in the program at a later date.

F.A. Day Project

During the facilities update last night, Guryan explained that the Design Review Committee has approved the design plans and the city is currently advertising for the project's sub-contractors and general contractors.

Guryan noted that the contractor bid results have been delayed by two weeks, as the bid schedule was extended due to a low number of interested bidders. This should not significantly affect the project timeline, Guryan said.

Construction for F.A. Day is expected to go on throughout this summer, with the finished renovation/addition finished by spring of next year.

In addition, School Committee member Jonathan Yeo said both the Board of Aldermen's Finance Committee and Public Facilities Committee approved $6.75 million in funding for the project last night at . The full board will vote on the funding next Monday, June 18. 

Angier project/Cabot concerns

Guryan informed the School Committee that the reconstruction/rebuilding project is "off to a great start" and the city will submit its selection for a Owner's Project Manager (OPM) to the MSBA for approval. 

The city is , which follows a specific process and requires a number of approvals from the MSBA.

In addition, the city is in the process of creating a bid for a project designer, which will go out sometime this summer. A feasibility study for the project is expected to start in September, Guryan said. 

Meanwhile, a number of parents spoke out during the meeting about the deteriorating conditions at , and the need for the city/School Department to consider a feasibility study for rebuilding in the near future.

Both Guryan and Mayor Setti Warren assured the parents and Cabot community that they are actively working on moving up the feasibility study and plan to speak with the MSBA about the possibility of working on two MSBA-backed projects at once.

"We share the urgent nature to address the needs at Cabot...we're going to be as aggressive as we can," Warren said.

Swing space at Carr Elementary

According to City Sustainability Project Manager Maciej Konieczny, Newton has gone through the design selection process for the and has awarded a contract to Turowski2 Architecture, Inc.

Carr, which currently houses the , will serve as school space for Angier Elementary students while that reconstruction project takes place. The swing space is expected to open in September 2014.

The contract, he said, will be signed in the near future and the city is planning a "kick-off" meeting with the designer for June 20. 

Energy upgrades

Both Konieczny and Public Buildings Director of Operations Josh Morse explained to the School Committee last night that the city has proposed energy upgrades for several school buildings.

Morse said the energy projects, which will be done through the NSTAR Preferred Vendor Program, will help improve the comfort of students and teachers in the school as well as address some much needed maintenance. Some of the upgraded systems include lighting, heating, ventilation and water conservation. 

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