Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Taking Care of Business: School Building & Maintenance Projects in Needham this Summer

This time of year it’s pretty quiet around town:  Needham’s families are away on summer vacation, kids are at camp, and you can actually find parking near the Town Common!

Around the schools, though, it’s a different story.  The Town’s maintenance crews, craftsmen, and contractors are busy getting the schools ready for the fall and the return of students and teachers.  Thanks to the generosity of Needham taxpayers and Town Meeting, over $3 million is being spent on school maintenance and capital improvement projects this summer alone.  Key projects in and around the schools include:

  School Maintenance  Repairs are proceeding in each school building, especially at Pollard, which is undergoing an asbestos abatement project, HVAC upgrades, duct cleaning, and locker replacement.  The installation of new freezers, lighting, and flooring, as needed, at other schools is also part of the work plan. 

  Playgrounds  Outdoor play areas at all of the schools receive ongoing attention with repairs to play equipment, fencing, resurfacing, and general upkeep.  As a result of the ongoing work, our play areas are safe, accessible, and fun!

Newman Fields Reconstruction
  Newman Fields and Eastman Conservation  A major reconstruction and refurbishing of fields and the conservation area on the Newman campus are underway and should mostly be ready when school starts in September.  New drainage, fields, walkway, landscaping, learning areas, and handicapped accessibility will all be addressed with this $2.3 million project.

  Needham High School  Given the growing enrollment at NHS, the Town is investing in the refurbishment of some interior spaces to provide additional classroom seats.  Designed for 1,450 students, Needham High will enroll about 1,680 students this fall, and the
High School Classroom Refurbishing
additional classroom seats will definitely be needed.  The Town has allocated about $600,000 for all school maintenance projects, including the interior classroom work at NHS this summer.  (Architects are also developing plans to expand the high school cafeteria next summer.)

  Hillside Feasibility  The feasibility study is underway, and the School Committee, Selectmen, and Permanent Public Building Committee (PPBC) will review and vote on options for a possible school venue and construction project in the fall.

The Town is clearly committed to maintaining and improving the schools in order to provide an excellent learning environment for each child.  Thanks to Town Manager Kate Fitzpatrick and her incredible team of professionals:  Dave Davison, Chris Coleman, Chip Laffey, Rick Merson, Steve Popper, Hank Haff, Patty Carey, Ed Olsen, Bob Lewis, Ben Anderson, Tony Delgaizo, and many others, including tradesmen, custodians, and support staff.

These dedicated folks work collaboratively with the schools and staff to ensure the Needham community remains a great place in which to live, work, play and learn.

Happy summer!

1 comment:

  1. Why don't you eliminate METCO program, so that will cut student population by 10% and so you can save budget on building less additional spaces and less administrators positions and other expenses? Needham is well diverse town already, but who needs more diversity should move in Boston and enjoy all kinds of diversity there.