With on the table for School Committee consideration, School Department officials are working on to get students into the new classrooms by the start of school.
If the committee gives its approval of the plans at its meeting next Monday, the project will be on a path to completion by the fall. However, students may not be able to occupy the new classrooms until sometime in October.
Two modular classrooms are proposed at Zervas Elementary and one each at Burr and Horace Mann Elementary Schools.
In addition, Building Commissioner Stephanie Gilman said at Monday night's School Committee meeting the sprinkler systems for the new modulars could take even longer. The city is currently pursuing the possibility of going to a sprinkler appeals board to request an extension for the work, allowing students to move into the modulars before the are completely installed.
The timeline for the modular classroom construction is as follows:Approval of funding request for design Completed School Committee update May 16, 2011 Schematic design site plan & estimate May 20, 2011 School Committee vote May 23, 2011 Schematic design review by the Design Review Committee May 24, 2011 Docket the modular project w/ Board of Aldermen (2 week public hearing notice) May 25, 2011 Site plan approval hearing/public facilities approval June 8, 2011 Finance Committee approval June 13, 2011 School Committee update June 13, 2011 Full Board of Aldermen approval June 20, 2011 Construction documents June 13, 2011 Advertise central register June 14, 2011 Construction documents reviewed by Design Review Committee June 16, 2011 Specifications/plans available June 22, 2011 School Committee update June 27, 2011 Pre-bid conference June 29, 2011 General bids due July 7, 2011 Contract awarded July 17, 2011 Construction period Through Sept. 2011 F&E installation/occupation by students Oct. 1, 2011
If modulars are not ready until October, where do the kids go?
Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education Joe Russo explained in a memo to the School Committee that each of the three elementary schools looking to install modular classrooms have a temporary plan for students if the new spaces are not ready by September.
At , the contigency plan would be to move art from its present location to the cafetorium or do an art-on-a-cart program where the art teacher moves from classroom to classroom. This would free up the art room as a temporary classroom until the modular is completed.
The kindergarten after school program at Burr will also temporarily be relocated to the kindergarten classrooms from the cafetorium until the modular is completed. If the construction is not done by Oct.1 (when kindergarten extends to afternoon) the after school program will move to the music room or library space.
Russo's memo, which provides feedback from Zervas, Burr and Horace Man principals, explains that the two new modular classrooms proposed at are set to house "urgently needed" program space for the Special Education program and regular, small-group math and language arts interventions. If the modular classrooms are not finished, these programs will likely take place in the hallways, principal's office and the teacher's room, the memo says.
The plan at is to put the fourth kindergarten class in the undersized classroom as a temporary solution until the modular is completed. Russo notes in his memo, though, that it is not ideal to use this space for the entire year.