First in a 3-Part Series by John Anderson
Groundbreaking for the new Auburn Middle School is not far off, and the scheduled completion of this building in the summer of 2015 will trigger a host of new projects around the District. The goal is to have everything done by the start of school in August of 2015.
At a joint meeting of the School Committee, Finance Committee, and Board of Selectmen last Wednesday, School Superintendent Maryellen Brunelle and Facilities Director Joe Fahey detailed renovation plans as well the funding mechanisms to make this happen. Town Manager Julie Jacobson, CFO Ed Kazanovicz, and School Business Manager Peter Gray were also in attendance.
The basis for this plan is the completion of the new Middle School and the resulting vacancy of 10 Swanson Road, as the old middle school is now called for purposes of clarity. Last fall the School Committee voted to repurpose 10 Swanson Rd. as an elementary school serving all grade 3-5 students in town.
In another vote, the School Committee decided to close Mary D. Stone and Julia Bancroft schools as recommended by the Auburn School Buildings Committee after a lengthy review of all four elementary buildings. With this decision made, a course of action can be implemented on the properties that will be used as schools for years to come.
First on the list is upgrading the gym lighting in the high school. Replacement bulbs are no longer available, and $75,000 is budgeted for LED lighting. This
should occur this spring after energy saving grants are available.
During summer 2014, when major work must be done, projects include rebuilding and expanding the parking lot at 10 Swanson Rd, electrical and mechanical work at Bryn Mawr, and refurbishing the bathrooms at Pakachoag for ADA compliance.
Since Mary D. Stone and Julia Bancroft must serve Auburn students for the next year and a half, some needs must be addressed there as well, but no capital expenditures are planned. Unplanned issues will occur and will be dealt with in a cost effective manner.
Renovations to make 10 Swanson Rd. into a long-term and first-class elementary school are currently budgeted at $1,815,000 and include a substantial overhaul of this 50,567 square foot structure originally built in 1959. An addition was added in 1973, and modular classrooms are also attached.
Another level of renovations is being submitted to the Massachusetts School Building Authority for approval and partial funding. These include: a new roof and HVAC upgrades at Bryn Mawr; a new boiler and HVAC upgrades at Pakachoag; and a new roof, boiler and HVAC upgrades at 10 Swanson Rd.
Starting with the final bell of the 2015 school year, many people will be working very hard to accomplish the many tasks that will be described in Part Two of this series. Part Three will address the funding and Capital Improvement Plan modifications that make all this work happen.