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High School Building Committee Hosts Tuesday Public Forum

Session begins at 6:30 p.m. and includes public comments section.

It’s the subject that many residents in town are , and on Tuesday night those residents will get the chance to do so in front of the right town officials.

The High School Building Committee hosts a public forum at 6:30 p.m. in the Wilmington High School auditorium to discuss a potential new or renovated facility and the feasibility timeline that comes with it.

Officials will not move forward with a new building unless they have support of the community, so this will likely be a good gage of what to expect.

“The Wilmington High School building project is significant to each and every resident of the Town of Wilmington,” said Superintendent of Schools Joanne Benton. “This project is more than a school building; it is the development of a major, long term town asset. We want to hear from the community. The decisions to be made will affect young people’s lives for generations to come. After all, the residents of Wilmington will be making an investment in our students’ future.”

Benton said there will be a presentation that includes the project history, feasibility timeline, existing conditions assessment, design options and public comments.

The topic of a new high school has . As a part of the feasibility study, an outside firm was hired to present several options for potential new schools. That group will be represented during Tuesday’s meeting.

At a recent debate for School Committee candidates, much of the conversation revolved around high school options.

Benton and Town Manager Michael Caira have both said now is the time to act on a new high school since the town can likely receive about 50 percent of the cost back from the state.

Wilmington Patch will provide complete coverage of the meeting, so check back on Wednesday.

“It is an opportunity for the residents of Wilmington to review the site options, get questions answered and weigh in on the decision to renovate, add on, or construct a new high school,” said Benton. “We hope to narrow down site options, to get a pulse on what residents are thinking and respond to any concerns the community may have.”

Michele April 12, 2011 at 06:50 PM
We definitely are in much need of a new high school. If you are against it just take a tour of the school and it will open your eyes. We should not have to bus our kids out of this town to do a science lab that our school is not able to provide. This is totally wrong!
Christine April 13, 2011 at 02:10 AM
http://www.ipetitions.com/my/petitions/325202 Please encourage a 21st century education for our children and families! Support us with your signature! Thank You!
Mark Nelson April 13, 2011 at 01:45 PM
The State will not reimburse the Town for any costs associated with the massive oil spill clean up, the demolition of the current structure, which is a perfecly fine building, or the sewer main extention. The only way the voters of Wilmington, will approve the construction of a New High School, is if it is constructed on THE FARM. There are far to many undermined costs with the 159 Church Street location
Stacie April 13, 2011 at 02:11 PM
Mr. Nelson. WHY do you keep saying THE FARM, were you in attendance last night? Wilmington does not own THE FARM. It is out of the way and away from the center of town. Most schools, are not built away from the towns center. Building a NEW SCHOOL will not effect the students. If renovations were done they would be effected by this. Mr. Nelson, stop with THE FARM.
Mark Nelson April 13, 2011 at 02:28 PM
Ms. Murphy, no offense but some people are drinking way to much koolaid. There is no way in the world that the voters in town will vote to build a new high school at 159 Church Street. The DEP file folder is 6 inches thick with contamination from the oil spills. The state will not pay that extremely expensive cleanup. The state will not pay for the demolition of the current school. Buying the Farm is the only option to a NewHigh School, believe it or not. With a 60 % reimbursementthe town has a new MODEL High School on 105 acres of FARM LAND @ no more than 30 Million less than the New Middle School.
Stacie April 13, 2011 at 02:36 PM
Mr. Nelson, Wilmington does not own THE FARM. Instead of focusing on generating more issues for the Town maybe you should come up with some real solutions. Do you think the 20,000+ people will all agree with you and ask for a New High School at THE FARM?? I HIGHLY DOUBT IT. Instead I assure you that the community does want a New High School at the current site!
Mark Nelson April 13, 2011 at 02:45 PM
The Selectman Could sign a purchase and sale agreement on THE FARM today if they wanted to do what is by far the best option for everyone in town. They have ignored the owners attornies, which in my opinion is a huge mistake. The New Model School program , has the design already completed and ready for bid. We could do a tremendous amount of positive things on 105 acres. Off to town hall to pay property tax bill ttyl.
Manny Mulas April 14, 2011 at 02:18 PM
Michelle, I agree 100% with you. It is clear that the existing school will not be able to keep up with the educational and technological requirements that are needed for our kids to compete. We have the perfect opportunity to do something great. We will be reimbursed 50% by the state. The cost would be 10-15% less than it would have been 2-3 years ago because of the economic environment and our bond rating is high so our borrowing costs will be low. Also our debt exclusion for the middle school will be paid off this year. If we dont do something now we may not get this opportunity again. These are the facts that our ton manager spoke about this week.
Laurie April 15, 2011 at 01:41 AM
I completely agree and his focus on one particular property makes me question what he has to gain personally by having that land developed! I personally don't think a new school is needed but if one were to be built I would not want it to be on the outskirts of town. That would mean higher transportation costs for buses assuming fewer students would be able to walk to school and I am guessing that the schools would also need to adjust start/end times due to the longer bus times to get students to/from there. And to Mark: I'm not a fan of koolaid but I would vote to rebuild a school at the current location before I would vote to build a new school on land that is barely in Wilmington. However, I would prefer an expansion or leave it as is because I don't see how spending lots of money on a new building will make our students smarter.
Mark Nelson April 15, 2011 at 01:58 AM
"That would mean higher transportation costs for buses assuming fewer students would be able to walk to school and I am guessing that the schools would also need to adjust start/end times due to the longer bus times to get students to/from there"....... Are you sure this is a statement that you might want others to believe or place your name on ???? The DEP file folder on the contamination at 159 Church St can be viewed on Tues and Thursday's from 9 -12, fax there office and make an appointment, copies of documents are 20 cents a page and believe me you will not need more than $ 6.
Robert Hayes April 15, 2011 at 04:17 AM
Laurie: I believe you are correct re: transportation costs. If the high school was put on the edge of town, WPS would have to offer busing to more students. As an FYI, WPS offers busing to all kindergarten students (unless they live in "immediate proximity" to the school); students in Grades 1-3 that live more than 1 mile from school; students in Grades 4-6 that live more than 1.5 miles from school; and students in Grades 7-12 that live more than 2 miles from school. (School Committee Policy #EEAA) I'm not going to venture a guess re: new start/stop times, but I will say WPS has to be conscious of all those who participate in extracurricular activities - especially our student athletes, who must play according to schedules that the district has limited control over. I hope you had an opportunity to attend the Public Forum on Tuesday. If not, it will be televised on WCTV. (I will post a link once it's on their website.) The presentation from the Public Forum can be found here: http://www.wilmington.k12.ma.us/HSBC/HSWG%20PPT%202011-04-07%20Final.pdf. Slides #8 & 9 outline the current facility's shortfalls. I have seen iterations of the presentation before -- I find it VERY compelling. Feel free to contact Superintendent Benton (see last slide) -- she's giving tours of the building to point these shortfalls out in-person.
Laurie April 16, 2011 at 04:24 AM
Thanks, Robert. I had to work late Tues night so I didn't make the meeting. I will have to catch it on WCTV but I doubt that is going to sell me on a new school because I don't see how a new or improved building is necessary to produce more intelligent or capable students.
Laurie April 16, 2011 at 05:32 AM
Mr Nelson: YES, I stand by my statement and would not have stated my opinion on a public website if I only intended to keep it to myself! I believe I made it clear that I was stating my opinion, as opposed to hard facts, when I included terms such as "assuming" and "guessing." I realize that you think "we are drinking way to much koolaid" (direct quote from you without correction) but I wanted to include my two cents because some people (like you!) have been stating opinions as fact such as your statement that "Buying the Farm is the only option to a NewHigh School." I realize you might want others to believe you and I am not trying to stop you or convince your or anyone to do what I think is best. I am just trying to learn more while expressing my thoughts, concerns, and opinions. While we are on the topic of fact versus opinion can you please specify how much the "extremely expensive cleanup" will cost? I personally do not support building a new school but just for fun I went online and reviewed the site and restrictions and if I understand correctly the town would not have to "cleanup" the site but instead they would have to have a licensed site professional develop a soil management plan and have a certified industrial hygienist develop a health and safety plan and conduct construction within those plans. Can you please point me to the data that show that "the cost associated with the cleanup will be astronomical" at the existing site?
Mark Nelson April 16, 2011 at 11:43 AM
Excellent Laurie, finally someone who gets it. "A licensed site professional develop a soil management plan and have a certified industrial hygienist develop a health and safety plan and conduct construction within those plans" I will post more plans later. The original response cost over $ 400,000 back in 1984, for a small portion of the # 4 oil plumb. 10's of thousands of gallons of # 2 oil was also pumped into the leaking tanks and spread across the entire property as evidenced by the 11 monitoring wells. The plans are not free and to work within those plans is more expensive. The cost to dispose of contaminated soil is very difficult and In my opinion the entire site should remain contained and place no risk to anyone, students teachers, workers or abutters. Build on a clean site and save millions.
Mark Nelson April 16, 2011 at 11:28 PM
http://vimeo.com/22047162

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