Back to Advisory Committee Minutes
August 18, 2011 Meeting Minutes
Hingham Town Hall
Present: Committee Members Asher, Johnson, MacCune, Dwyer, Innis, Kirven,
Marwill, Power, Pyles, Eldredge, Farrell, Taylor, Kutsch, Sharkansky
1. Call to order
Chairman Jon Asher called the Advisory Committee meeting to order at 7:30 PM.
2. Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the June 30, 2011 meeting were approved by a unanimous vote of the members present.
3. Middle School Construction Project
There was a brief discussion of the anticipated timeline leading up to the Special Town Meeting which as of now is expected to be held on October 24, 2011. It was noted that the warrant would likely need to be ready for the printer by September 30, 2011, which would likely require that the AdCom vote on the final warrant article and comment on or before September 26, 2011.
Ray Estes, School Committee member and chair of the School Building Committee, and James Jordan of Ai3 briefed the AdCom on the status of the project including a summary of events to date and ongoing activities. They also described certain modifications that have been made to the model school such as the inclusion of an auditorium and a larger cafeteria and removal of the walking track.
Ray Estes stated that he expected cost estimates by August 26, 2011, but that the amount to be presented in the Special Town Meeting warrant article, including the MSBA reimbursement rate, would not be finalized until the MSBA board meeting scheduled for September 28, 2011.
There was a discussion of the benefits of participating in the model school program compared to a "ground up" design process. It was noted that the model school program offers 5 additional reimbursement points from the MSBA, that the model school program requires the use of 50-year life building materials and incorporates many green features.
Ray Estes informed the AdCom that some costs were not reimbursable by the MSBA including certain soft costs, any upgrades to the septic system that might be required, site costs in excess of 8% of the project and any costs associated with soil improvements, which it was noted, might be required based on recently completed tests.
Ray Estes informed the AdCom that the clawback related to the MSBA's prior funding of the Science Wing addition had been finalized at approximately $783,000.
There was a discussion as to whether a suitable project could be achieved for less. Specifically, Laura Marwill asked what kind of school could the Town get for a price of $45 million to $50 million which led to a discussion of some of the restrictions inherent in the model school program.
There was a discussion of the MSBA's design enrollment of 1,020 students compared to the School Department projected peak of 1,090 students, and it was noted that MSBA projects are directed at average enrollment, not the peak enrollment.
4. High School Fields Project
Mary Power provided a summary of the fields-related issues over the past several years. It was noted that the track and tennis courts were now in dire need of action; however, the tennis courts might not need as much repair as originally suspected.
School Committee member Caryl Falvey discussed the specific status of the track and tennis courts and why action was needed at Special Town Meeting as opposed to waiting to the regular Town Meeting in April. Members of the AdCom asked whether the track and tennis courts would require a Special Town Meeting if one were not already planned for the Middle School Project and why the Phase II design needed to be funded now and could not wait until April. The School Committee and School Department stressed that the condition of the fields warranted some urgency to address a project that has been on "the back burner" since 2005. Dr. Galo, Superintendent of Schools, suggested that funding of the Phase II design would reflect the Town's commitment to the fields project which could encourage private giving. Some AdCom members also inquired as to whether, once the Phase II design work was completed, a Special Town Meeting would be necessary to fund the work required to complete the project. Some AdCom members expressed concern that the current initiatives were circumventing the typical capital budgeting process.
Jim Sharkansky asked whether all possible private funding sources had been investigated and encouraged the School Committee and School Department to reach out to corporate donors. There was a discussion of fund raising activities to date and it was noted that many private sources do not generally support projects in more affluent communities.
Some AdCom members expressed concern that committing to a design project leads to a foregone conclusion with respect to the ultimate project and that no options are put forth for consideration.
5. Next Meeting
The next meeting of the AdCom was scheduled for September 8, 2011.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:23 PM.
Greg MacCune, Secretary