May 8, 2008


These notes were prepared by Megan Welter / Steve Bailey to the best of her / his understanding. If you find any inaccuracies, please contact the Superintendent of Schools Office at 871-0555 within one week after receiving the notes.

Present: Molly Aldrich, Dave Brochu, Ralph Baxter, Jr., Gene Swiger, Kathy Germani, Polly Ward, Ralph Cabana, Randy Martin, Suzanne Godin, Jeanne Crocker, Megan Welter, and Steve Bailey. Present from Harriman were Dan Cecil and Scott Pakulski and Board of Education / community member, Rick Carter.

1. Minutes from April 3, 2008 were approved.
2. Recap of 4/28 City Council Mtg.

  • Councilors have their individual ideas—there does not appear to be a consensus
  • Stated they would not get in the way of referendum
  • Councilors seemed to indicate their view that voters would not approve any referendum before an application to state for school funding is made
  • Individual councilors indicated different dollar amounts they thought could be supported
  • It is difficult because it seemed like there was still a lack of understanding regarding the magnitude of the issues on the part of the City Council. There is a need to be sure that the Council is fully informed
  • Some questions for further exploration:
o Does the Council recognize the need for their collective support? At this point, it doesn’t seem like it
o How do we get their support? How do we get full support of Board?
o How do we hear from the Board what information they need to be in a place by June 2009 to support a project before the voters? Same with council? Suzanne will meet with Jim Gaily to ascertain this.
o How do we update the public? Where’s the balance? How do we hit highlights?
• Videotape our meetings?
• Short 2 times monthly update on SPTV by non-Board members
• Regular column in Sentry
• Regular “fireside chat”- Superintendent regular broadcast
• Hold our meetings in a different forum--Council chambers or the Community Center (Many people will not come into this building-- info that Suzanne got in her entry meetings)
• When we set the schedule of future meetings, we should revisit the question of meeting location.
  • If we go forward in the next 2 years, it is the sense of the group that the council will not support a project. If that is the case, we need the Bd. of Ed. to take a more active role.
  • Do we move forward? How?
    o We’d like to work more closely with both bodies, perhaps providing updates every 6 wks -8 wks.
    o Include a more specific reporting within the regular Board of Education meetings
    o Prepare a “briefing binder” for City Councilors
    o Organize by chapters such as: Annex, Green design, ADA, Fire code, etc.
    o We need to sit with the Council to find out what they want from us. We’d like them to ask us questions.


3. Engage in 3-Track Path representing major costs
a. SPHS- if we eliminate current Beal Gym, and we re-work footprint—what will be the cost? What might a different (smaller) design look like and cost? Can we just demolish / rebuild annex and leave original building (1950’s?
b. Middle Schools -- Start site testing-- get on track for application process
c. Continue planning for major repairs (in the mean time)
• Any money spent on repairs should be consistent with bigger plans / renovations
• Can we do much in terms of renovating mechanical systems

3a. SPHS Conversation:
a. Phase 1: Build new building where Beal and annex are, leave 1950’s part alone
b. There are sites problems… these really should be on the city side of the project - public works - they can qualify for federal grants to assist with this work.
c. This might be an opportunity to collaborate with the city
d. Could Pat Cloutier (Pollution Abatement Director) sit on the committee-check with Jim Gailey?
e. We still need public feedback--throughout process
f. Would a meeting with the Fire Marshal be important to make sure that we are presenting a plan they’ll accept (i.e. not touching old building until phase 2)? It is important to re-establish credibility with the community, and have the need for design statements be verified from city officials (Pollution Abatement, City Planning, etc.) i.e., A letter saying that if you do a $10 million renovation, we will need $5 million in health/safety upgrades…
g. Design strategies- Is there a part we look at first?
• Demolish Beal & Annex: This starting point opens a lot of options
• Have Harriman explore every possible tract of land –in conjunction with the City Planning office (Tex Haueser). Where could a building be built? Look at site, wetlands & soil, Regulations of State regarding school construction. Involve Tex Haueser (from the City) to identify where a new school could be built--let him provide information.
• In terms of a renovated school, we need to be aware of putting out & publicizing what is smart so people don’t think it’s extravagant
• We still need leadership of Council to favor the plan
• Look at the needs the city has for their CIPs- can we “house” any of their needs--Tie anything they need into our plan to leverage support
• We give Harriman free reign to build most cost efficient building we can –No sacred cows.--Try to keep “spirit” of building

4. Review of meeting dates-- will stick with Thursday meetings. Will meet once in June (June5), once in July (July 17), and once in August (August 14). We will return to two meetings per month in September beginning with September 11. A revised schedule will be sent out to committee members.
a. Other members? Teachers, senior citizens, students, other community members? We need to make a blanket public call for members—can do this at the Board of Education meeting as well.

5. Agenda for June 5—we will be looking into a revised location for the meetings (City Hall or Community Center)
• Harriman will come with beginning revised plans
• Will begin plan for getting test studies for middle schools
• Suzanne will meet with Jim Gailey talk about greater involvement of City Council
• We will begin to look at how to bundle maintenance needs--consider budgetary implications
• Bring new members up to speed

6. What about web-site?
• For now, we need to pull “stuff” off there and stick with minutes.
• This will be cleaned up and updated.

7. Meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.