Sunday, June 26, 2011

Orders on Bresnahan and Nock

The City Council's Budget and Finance Committee met last week to discuss two orders related to a new school at the Bresnahan site and renovation of the Nock/Molin school.

There is a good depiction here about the current conditions at these schools, which have been deteriorating for many years.

  • The first order is to appropriate $650,000 for the cost of a Feasibility and Schematic Design Study for the Bresnahan.
  • The second order is to appropriate $500,000 for the cost of a Feasibility and Schematic Design Study for the Nock Middle and Molin Upper Elementary Schools
  • Each year since 2007, the City has submitted Statements of Interest to the Mass School Building Authority. 2007 was the first year the MSBA used this process.
  • The City learned this spring that both the Nock/Molin for 'renovations' and Bresnahan for "Model School" were invited into the MSBA 'pipeline'.
  • The Feasibility and Schematic Design Study is an important component to the MSBA process in that "the District and its team collaborate with the MSBA to generate an initial space summary, document existing conditions, establish design parameters, develop and evaluate alternatives, and recommend the most cost effective and educationally appropriate solution" (quote from the MSBA website) and develop a "schematic design of sufficient detail to establish the scope, budget and schedule for the Proposed Project." (also from the MSBA website).
  • Basically the Feasibility and Schematic Design Study is a way to save overall cost by having better planning in the beginning. Assistant Superintendent Farrel pointed out that Norwood saved $33 million dollars on the cost of its new high school.
  • The costs of the Feasibility and Schematic Design Studies have been estimated by looking at recent projects for 13 schools across the State.
  • There were about 100 citizens in attendance, including parents and members of the Newburyport Mothers Club. Many spoke to the poor physical conditions at the Bresnahan and Nock/Molin.
  • The City is also interested in pursuing the idea of using some of the Bresnahan (after a new school is constructed in the rear of the current site) for a Senior Center. This would be a more cost effective alternative to the current site at Cushing Park which would require an entirely new building.
  • The Budget and Finance Committee voted 2-0 to approve the two orders. Ed Cameron and Bob Cronin voted in favor, Councillor Herzog was absent. Councillors Derrivan, Ives, Jones were also in attendance, as were Mayor Holaday, Superintendent Kerble, School Committee members Cole, Menin, Koen, Sweeney, and Weaver.
  • The orders will be brought before the Council on Monday night.
  • If the Council votes in favor, the City will begin this next phase and begin to line up support to cover the funding for both projects.
  • Current estimates are $30 Million for the Bresnahan new school and $15 Million for the Nock/Molin Renovation. The MSBA would cover between 48% and 50% of the costs.

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