Q&A from Hastings School Public Forum Dated May 12, 2015
1. Has there been a traffic study been done in the neighborhood and if so, has this been made available to the neighbors?
2. Can the neighbors have more notice for public meetings?
3. You mentioned you have submitted an Statement of Interest (SOI) with the MSBA (Massachusetts School Building Authority), but you are still moving forward with Feasibility. What happens if the project is not supported by the MSBA?
A Statement of Interest (SOI) was submitted in 2014, which was not supported. The SOI is the first step a District takes in seeking MSBA participation in a school building project. The SOI includes a report from the District identifying deficiencies in the building(s) the Town is looking to add to, renovate or replace. The SOI is then reviewed by the MSBA for eligibility. A second SOI was submitted in March 2015. The timetable to receive a response is earliest December. Consensus Plan suggests that conceptual planning moves forward in parallel, but not move so quickly that we get ahead of the MSBA. If MSBA does not support the project, the District can entertain moving forward on its own.
4. Parent of LCP and Hastings: I know there are advantages to keeping LCP as part of an elementary school, as far as sharing core facilities, but I am concerned with the very small lot and the limitations of the lot, including the wetlands. Having LCP could compromise outdoor space on this site.
- Would prefer Laconia Site or Worthen Road.
5. What does increased size at the elementary schools mean for Middle School enrollment?
What the design team is looking at and what is requested from the policy makers is to do two studies: Can Diamond support all added capacity for the overall middle school program, which is showing an enrollment increase of 2-2.5 teams. We are showing both options, for all work to occur at Diamond, and additions at both middle schools.
6. Given that Hastings is currently the smallest elementary school in the district at this time but may become one of the larger schools, can you describe philosophical design ideas to maintain the character of the site?
Simplicity is harder to achieve than complexity. At Estabrook, walked through the program by the Principal identifying what she would like accomplished, get feedback from educational team and design for that. Personality of every community and school is taken into consideration as well. It will emerge, it just hasn’t been found yet. School scheduling will come into play and how the spaces are organized will also impact decisions.
7. When discussing the idea of improving the layout for queuing of cars, we also want to be sure that the safety of students walking is taken into consideration.
The team will be putting together a comprehensive map to see how people move in each area of Town, identifying how hiking/bike & walking trails come into play. Improving the layout will provide a more organized circulation, as well as provide safety for students that are walking or biking to school.
8. Recommendation: In discussing the idea of replicating Estabrook, there is the idea of the Architect’s perception of how the space works versus the user’s perception of how the space is used. Would like to have a user space study on flow regarding what is working in a new school such as Estabrook, and what is not working to factor into this project. Students have to be main consideration.
9. Because of the larger sized school being designed, I’m seeing a lot of paving. Are there thoughts to include green roofs or other green components?
10. Is there anything we could do to discourage having so much pavement in lieu of green areas? Want to discourage driving to school versus walking or biking.
The exterior areas have not yet been developed. There are several play areas for the children that you are seeing. Public Safety access is an important consideration to have access around the entire building. Parking for about 90 cars is about what is being shown. New school buildings are designed for having events at the school, not just for day to day use. There are 80 staff members currently in this building and there is limited parking as is.
11. Are noise levels for the outdoor space, for example the proximity to the expressway, being taken into consideration as far as mitigating the noise?
12. Observation: Many people are asking about green space/parking/play space. It would be useful if comparison charts were provided to show the number of parking spaces that exist on each school site throughout the district, and what the thought process is when determining the target amount of parking space for each scenario. We would also with play space and SF per student/individual using the space.
- All of these concerns will be taken into consideration.
13. Where is the Worthen Road site located?
14. Important going forward to understand the costs associated with various options, even though we do not have this information right now. We would like to have a breakdown of what factors are going into the estimated costs.
15. Location for preschool is mentioned at 4 locations. Is the Harrington site still being considered for this space?
16. Are we considering geothermal heating/AC systems? Solar panels?
17. I am concerned about the amount of playground space.
- It will be a requirement to have an appropriately sized playground.
18. Lighting is a concern if this were to be a 3-story building, as lights could be shining down on neighbors.
19. When power goes out at school, neighbors can hear emergency generator. Also can hear trash compactor. Will this be taken into consideration?
20. I heard project is going to take 4-5 years. If this is going to take that long, my child will graduate by the time the school is finished. Is there a way to accelerate the pace?
21. Will a study be completed for the green space in comparison to paved space?
22. I am concerned about this building lasting for the next 4-5 years. I am told there is mold in the building that hasn’t been tested, which is a concern. We would like to see testing done and be assured the building and modulars will survive the next 4-5 years.
We work with the health department on all health issues. Determinations on health are not made by public facilities. We are active in addressing any moisture inside the building and have an on call service that comes in to test moisture within walls and remove any material in question. We have received advice from the health department and Mass Department of Health on how to proceed. Previous tests have not shown areas of concern that would require action at this time. We continue to be vigilant. Yes mods were built 20 years ago and want to replace them, but we will actively address anything that comes to our attention in the meantime.
23. Does it make sense to have our school be the largest school in the district if the site does not look that big?
We have and are reviewing what size school the site can handle. Based on comparison, we are looking at a 3-story that could provide 30 general classrooms, but not take up as large of a footprint on site.
24. Could we go to a 4-story building and put an underground garage?
25. I understand why we need to have a bigger Hastings, but after looking at plans, I am against having LCP here. I feel there is a lack of fields on the plans being shown.
All parties involved in the project, and the decision makers, are looking at this process from every angle in order to ensure the best options are being considered. We are at the very beginning stages and the concepts discussed will be further reviewed to include these concerns at a later phase.
26. Suggestions: Think about kids walking and area for parents to pick up kids safely. One special thing about Hastings is that we have an all school meeting and we are fortunate to have a gym large enough. Would like this in a new building.
27. Mentioned that most of the elementary schools are at capacity and these kids will eventually end up at the High School. Is there something being done to plan for this?
There is space to maintain the current educational program at Lexington High School. The higher priority is at the LCP, elementary and middle schools. The high school will be deferred while capacity is being added at these schools, then it is expected that the high school will be evaluated.
28. How will the School Committee make decisions on June 16 if all information will not be available until the end of June?