HAMPSTEAD – The School Board decided it will take action on the facilities studies that have occurred over the past several years, with the goal of presenting a design plan complete with construction costs to the voters in March 2014.
The school studies have identified needs at Hampstead Central and Middle schools, and the board said at its Tuesday, June 11 meeting that no further study is warranted. Breadloaf Architects provided the Hampstead School District with a Comprehensive Facilities Assessment of the District Schools in 2010. The Facilities Committee identified seven priorities in 2011 and Breadloaf was asked in the spring of 2012 to assist the committee in developing a phased approach to addressing and completing the list of priorities. Breadloaf complied at no cost to the District.
After a lengthy debate at last week’s meeting, the board decided to get Breadloaf to do an architectural design plan that could be used to go out to bid for a renovation and construction project.
The list of priorities includes:
• Replace portable classroom space with permanent in-school space at both schools.
• Correct ventilation issues at Central School’s south wing.
• Correct building envelope/insulation at Central’s south wing.
• Music space at Central School.
• Main entrance enhancements at HMS.
• Flexible learning space at both schools.
• Facilities storage building at HMS.
The above list was then narrowed to include the following for Phase One:
• Provide permanent classrooms to replace three Central School portables.
• Correct ventilation and envelope issues at Central School’s south wing.
• Provide a recognizable main entrance at HMS.
• Renovate the HMS library to provide flexible learning spaces and increased usage of technology.
Last year the estimated cost of these improvements and renovations was estimated at $5,154,000, with $4,330,500 of that at Central School and $823,500 at the Middle School.
The board authorized Assistant Superintendent Winfried Feneberg to ask Breadloaf to do two architectural design plans – one for the Middle School and the other for Central School. The board wants to focus primarily on Central School but wants to have the information available for the Middle School as well.
The board hopes to have a design plan complete with construction costs to present to the voters in March.
Board member Jason Cipriano said, “Something needs to be done now.” He said he supported the board’s taking strong action to move forward with getting Breadloaf to do the architectural designs so the voters will have a clear picture of what the improvements and renovations will cost.
In other business:
The School Board again discussed whether to fill a part-time physical education job, and heard Feneberg recommend that the position be filled. Feneberg said he had met with administrators, and while there had been a discussion about eliminating physical education for kindergarten, that alone would not reduce the need for the half-time position. The administrators also affirmed kindergarten should be offered physical education.
Board member Jim Stewart said the money for that position could be better spent on a different teaching area that would better prepare the students for the 21st Century.
Feneberg said administration wanted to fill the position and suggested the board could make a different decision the following year at budget season. Cipriano raised the question of the role of the school board, and noted the board is not supposed to be micro-managing hiring decisions, but rather setting direction and allowing the administrators and teachers to make decisions on the allocation of resources.
The board decided not to take any action to change the administrative decision that the position was needed and would be filled for the upcoming year, but agreed to look at it during the budget season.
Board member Jaye Dimando expressed disappointment, saying she thought this was an opportunity to think outside the box and that didn’t happen.