Where We've Been
The school district facilities have been comprehensively analyzed a number of times over the past twenty years. Most recently, an in-depth study that began in 2014 resulted in comprehensive reports facilitated by the Drummey, Rosane and Anderson (DRA) architectural consulting firm. These reports included the following:
- Architectural Assessments of each facility (DRA, October 6, 2015)
- Mechanical and Electrical Systems Existing Conditions Narrative (Consulting Engineering Services – CES, May 20, 2015)
- Comprehensive 10 Year Enrollment Projections Analysis (Education Resources Management, Dr. Arthur Wagman, December 23, 2014)
- Enrollment Projection Refresh (Education Resources Management, Dr. Arthur Wagman, Feb 9 2017)
With the addition of Colliers International serving as representation, this most recent facilities study culminated with a plan to shrink the district footprint from six schools to five schools and a referendum on September 26, 2017 to build a new elementary school on the Ryerson School property, with the expectation that a full renovation of Jeffrey School would follow immediately thereafter.
The referendum failed and the Board of Education then sought another approach to address the current and future maintenance needs of the school facilities that were identified in various facility reports. Based on a trend of significant declining student enrollment over time, and with the projection for the trend to continue into the foreseeable future, the BOE voted to move forward with the plan to contract the district from six schools to five by closing Island Avenue Elementary School in June 2019.
In the fall of 2017, the Board of Education again commissioned the services of Colliers International, a top tier global facilities and real estate consulting firm, to develop a long-term facility maintenance plan. With reports developed over the past few years, a draft plan was presented to the Board of Education’s Facilities Committee in the spring of 2018. On May 31, 2018, the Facilities Committee voted to forward the draft 10 Year $100 million Capital Maintenance Plan to the full Board of Education for approval. On June 19, 2018, the full Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt the plan.
The plan then moved to the Capital improvement Program – the town and schools joint long-term capital projects plan - while board members and members of the public began to question if there was a better plan out there other than the 10 Year $100 million maintenance plan. Members of the BOE, Board of Selectmen, and Board of Finance came together to form the Tri Board School Facilities Working Group. The group held meetings and public forums over a period of months and in April 2019 the group presented viable options for the town to consider beyond the BOE adopted 10 Year $100 Million Capital Maintenance Plan.