Schools to commence building study, master plan

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The Canton School Committee last week formally approved a contract for Dore & Whittier Architects of Newburyport to conduct a facilities assessment for each school building and propose a master plan for future building uses.

Preliminary reports will be issued in March of 2017 with the final plan expected to be finished by June 30.

The master plan is seen as the next step in addressing an existing school space crunch while also planning for the future building needs of the district, including possible new construction.

The project includes a study of existing buildings and an investigation of new sites in Canton with the potential to house a new administration and/or school building; identification of a variety of buildings or properties in Canton with the potential to build a new school and/or administration building; development of at least three master plan alternatives; development of a 10-year capital plan; and identification of applicable projects that may qualify for potential funding from the Massachusetts School Building Authority.

At the October 20 committee meeting, School Business Administrator Barry Nectow praised Dore & Whittier for their experience and previous work. Seven firms responded to a Request for Proposals (RFP) and three finalists were interviewed.

Funding for the study, in the amount of $155,000, was approved via a free cash transfer at the 2016 annual town meeting.

In other news Thursday night:

* School Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Fischer-Mueller reported that as of October 21, more than 350 people had completed her online entry plan survey. She has also conducted two public forums to date — one for members of the broader community and one for parents of elementary school students. A forum for parents of middle school students will be held on November 10 at 7 p.m. in the GMS library, followed by a forum for CHS parents on November 15 at 7 p.m. in the CHS library. Fischer-Mueller also introduced Karla Baehr of the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, who is her advisor in the New Superintendent Induction Program.

* Fischer-Mueller reported that 30 parents attended an October 13 informational session regarding interpretation of the PARCC and MCAS reports mailed home to parents recently. A more detailed discussion of the results will take place at a future …

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