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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.”

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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