School Committee approves modulars for JFK School

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In a unanimous vote on January 11, the Canton School Committee agreed to spend between $1.6 and $2 million in future capital funds to build a six-room modular addition at the Kennedy Elementary School.

The move is seen as the first step in easing overcrowding at the school and the first visible action stemming from the school district’s recently approved Facilities Master Plan.

School Committee Chairman Mike Loughran brought the proposal to the committee as an overall school facilities feasibility study will at least take six months to complete by an independent company and will be reviewed by the town’s Building Renovation Committee (BRC). Loughran said the committee could not wait until the feasibility report was conducted and reviewed.

Loughran and his colleagues agreed with the suggestion by School Business Administrator Barry Nectow that a Kennedy modular classroom addition would help temporarily ease overcrowding and give the School Department sufficient time to analyze the feasibility study.

Unfortunately, the earliest that the modular classrooms would be available is the start of the 2019-2020 school year. JFK Principal Christine McMahon said she would come up with more creative space-saving ideas for the next school year.

Kennedy student enrollment has grown from 416 students in October of 2011 to 530 students as of October 1, 2017. McMahon and other administrators have already come up with a number of space-saving measures, including using the cafeteria and a portion of the media center as instructional spaces; sending a classroom of kindergarten students to the Hansen School in 2016-17; and converting a computer lab and a special education classroom to kindergarten classrooms.

School Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Fischer-Mueller said the modular classrooms at the Kennedy is a temporary solution and not a permanent build-out. In the long-term, the facilities master plan calls for renovations to all of the schools.

Nectow reported that 32 firms have expressed interest in bidding for the feasibility study. The deadline to submit bids is February 2 and a contract will be awarded by March 1 with the feasibility report due …

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