School officials revisit space needs, eye full-day K

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The discussion on school space needs continued at last week’s School Committee meeting as new information surfaced on a proposed modular classroom addition at the Kennedy School and a standalone school administration building at the Paul Revere Heritage site.

The most immediate effect of both items is that the committee will now proceed with a discussion on the costs of implementing a full-day kindergarten program for the upcoming fiscal year. School Committee Chairman Bob Golledge said if full-day kindergarten plans advance, then the School Department will have to find additional classroom space for the next school year.

If the plans are tabled, classroom space at the Kennedy is still a need and the committee will still study whether to build or lease additional modular space.

Toward the end of the meeting, Golledge read an email from absent School Committee member John Bonnanzio informing the committee of the new administration building option at the former Plymouth Rubber factory site. While school leaders had been eyeing the soon-to-be renovated historic rolling mill on the property as a possible future home for central administration, Bonnanzio, who represents the schools on the Revere Building Use Committee, said that committee is now willing to look at the possibility of constructing a stand-alone office building somewhere on the site. Golledge said the news is favorable since the committee needs the extra space in the Rodman building to house classrooms.

Also on Thursday, discussions continued on the School Department’s capital budget for the next fiscal year. In the long-term debt budget, preliminary items submitted by School Business Manager Barry Nectow include $500,000 for the JFK modular classrooms; $610,000 for turf field repairs; $77,250 for traffic and walkway improvements at the Memorial Field parking lot, and $258,388 for a phone and voicemail system.

It appears the Memorial Field turf project will be scheduled for the 2017 budget year as CHS Athletic Director Danny Erickson said the turf has three seasons left before it will be deemed unsafe.

Meanwhile, the committee finalized its proposed cash capital budget after school administrators and Interim Superintendent Jen Henderson managed to whittle down requests of $1.59 million to a town-mandated figure of roughly $600,000. Toward that end, the committee and administrators committed to $220,511 for building repairs and improvements; $131,209 for technology expenses; $116,867 for program improvements; $71,693 for furniture and fixtures; $39,770 for vehicle replacements; and $19,950 for extraordinary maintenance (removing oil and cleaning the oil tanks in all five schools).

The big-ticket items in each of the categories include $32,650 for an energy management system at CHS; $40,000 for new Chromebooks and a mobile charging cart; $30,000 for American Sign Language lab equipment and software at CHS; and $35,000 for system-wide handheld radio upgrades.

In other building news, Nectow announced that all building permits have been approved for the Hansen School addition and construction will commence next week …

See this week’s Canton Citizen for more highlights from the November 22 School Committee meeting. Not a subscriber? Click here to order your subscription today.

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