FRAMINGHAM – The 9-member elected Framingham School Committee voted unanimously Wednesday night to approve the school district’s annual request of priority capital projects.
These projects and the district’s capital planning process save money in the long-term by prioritizing preventative maintenance and health safety projects, utilizing existing infrastructure, and fully using warranties and cost effective contract vehicles in partnership with municipal departments, said a media release from the district.
“The School Committee’s request seeks to fund what is sorely needed so students, staff, and our community can benefit,” said Adam Freudberg, Chair of the Framingham School Committee and District 4 Member.
“Security improvements, environmentally friendly upgrades, exterior upgrades, and fixing a major health safety and educational delivery gap at McCarthy Elementary School by adding air conditioning were prioritized by the committee. With this plan, we have teamed up with the Superintendent and Buildings and Grounds to create an opportunity to make limited strategic investments to support our current students and educators, as well as the generations to come,” said Freudberg.
“This $5M investment in our school buildings, if approved, is an important step in the long-term commitment that our City has made to preserve our aging infrastructure,” said Bob Tremblay, Superintendent of Schools, “as we must ensure that our buildings are watertight, safe, and accessible for our students and staff. Some of the best money spent is on preventative maintenance which is hardly flashy or eye-catching, but it is critical to teaching and learning in Framingham.”
This plan was passed by a unanimous 9-0 vote of the School Committee on October 2, and was previously passed 4-0 by the School Committee’s Facilities Subcommittee on September 25.
The Facilities Subcommittee finalized this request of $5,105,000 after reviewing a total Buildings and Grounds initial request of $7,551,613.
If approved, these capital projects will support the 9000+ students, 1800+ employees, and members of the community who utilize schools on evenings and weekends at sites across the City of Framingham.
The following projects were carefully selected as part of the Framingham Public Schools (FPS) multi-year capital planning process. Projects proposed for funding and supported by FPS and School Committee in order of priority are:
- Exterior Envelope Improvements to roofs, walls, windows, and doorways at multiple schools – $2,000,000
- The district’s five year capital plan includes estimates for the exterior envelopes of all buildings. This year’s plan funds the top projects identified as priorities where urgent work is needed to repair or replace exterior walls, windows and sealant systems and associated components. FY21 projects will fix these challenges at Hemenway and Wilson Elementary Schools, Cameron and Walsh Middle Schools, BLOCKS Preschool at Juniper Hill, and the Transportation Building.
- Paving and Stormwater Drainage Repairs at Brophy Elementary School – $955,000
- This project is the top priority on the district’s school parking and drainage capital needs list, and has been deferred for eight years in a row. Upgrades and repairs at Brophy are necessary to the existing driveway, parking lots, and stormwater systems, and to ensure compliance with federal environmental and stormwater runoff requirements.
- Air Conditioning at McCarthy Elementary School and HVAC Replacement at Barbieri Elementary School – $1,700,000 for two projects
- The project would add cooling to the existing McCarthy Elementary School HVAC systems. McCarthy was recommended next on the FPS list due to data analytics reflecting higher temperatures, especially on the second floor of the school. In the warmer months temperatures in some areas of the school can reach unhealthy levels in excess of 90-100 degrees. This project will include final design work, preparation of bid documents, specifications & plans, OPM services, construction oversight, construction and project closeout costs. Adding air conditioning will take advantage of the HVAC and electrical infrastructure already paid for and in place, while making the working and learning environments comfortable and safer for the McCarthy community.
- The existing HVAC system at Barbieri Elementary School is in need of replacement.
- Security Enhancements at multiple schools including security cameras and electronic door access systems – $450,000
- This request will further support and enhance the already robust security systems and measures at all schools. This includes enhancement function modules, badging system upgrades, alarm upgrades, and access controls.
The next step for the School Committee’s request (as outlined by the City Charter) is for the proposal to be reviewed by the Mayor and then submitted to the City Council for their review and approval before funding is released in Fiscal year 2021, which starts July 1, 2020.
Later this school year the district will be releasing a five year capital plan which will indicate the multiple other infrastructure needs required over the coming years.
To proactively plan for the decades ahead, Superintendent of Schools Robert A. Tremblay, in a plan endorsed by the Framingham School Committee, created a series of facilities related goals.
This includes Framingham High School’s utilization in preparation for enrollment growth, preschool expansion, and long-term facilities planning across the district. The findings and recommendations from these goals will be finalized and publicly released in 2020. These results and subsequent actions will further influence our long-term capital planning process.