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Braintree emphasizes East Middle School in funding request with the state

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  December 14, 2011 04:50 PM

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Braintree school officials will submit a statement of interest for each of the town's nine schools to the MSBA next month, with the hope of seeing several building improvements in the next few years.

According to Braintree Superintendent Peter Kurzberg, the statements are to keep all of the schools in the state funding pipeline as future projects, as each school needs to address issues ranging from roof replacement to overcrowding.

Although things need to be done on each of the schools, Kurzberg said East Middle School is currently the priority.

Last year, the MSBA helped the town repair South Middle School, fixing the HVAC system, the electrical system, the ceilings, lightings, fire suppression system, and windows in the aging building.

The school administration hopes to do a similar project to East; however, as the windows were already done last year through an MSBA "green" repair grant, that portion would be cut out from the request.

This latest project would fix much of what is wrong with the existing building, but more would need to be done in the future, Kurzberg said. The idea is to bite off smaller projects that can be accomplished over the summer rather than request all the fixes at once.

“We’ve got a short window of time to do the projects. So we only have summertime to look at getting work done. We did consider it when we looked at the South project, but it was not feasible to get all of that work done within the time frame. Our schools have to be ready for students on day one. And we could not have taken the chance that school would not be ready,” Kurzberg said.

The step-by-step replacements would ensure the buildings are tight and energy-efficient while the town waits for the right time to do other projects.

If all goes according to plan, Kurzberg estimates that the fixes would most likely be made during the summer of 2013.

Along with the statement of interest request, which will go before the Committee of Ways and Means tonight, the Town Council for approval next week, and then on to the MSBA, Braintree school officials are looking into a space needs study to deal with overcrowding.

Each of the elementary schools and South Middle School lists overcrowding as an issue in the statement of interest, and there are a variety of options to handle it, Kurzberg said.

“We are also undertaking a study to look at our space needs with the idea of identifying at least one of three possible solutions or combinations of solutions to address the overcrowding in the schools,” Kuzberg said. “We do have three existing facilities, smaller facilities that are leased out – Monatiquot, Eldridge and Foster. It’s looking at whether it makes sense to utilize those facilities to address the crowding.”

The town might also possibly add on to existing operating schools or possibly build an entirely new elementary school.

“Whether or not the MSBA participates in what we do has a lot to do with what the options are that we come up with and what they believe is the most efficient and long-lasting and cost-effective way to address the problems,” Kurzberg said.

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