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Study For Westford Academy Football Field Bathrooms Approved

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The following is a transcript from the Dec. 15, 2014 Westford School Committee meeting. For other parts of the meeting, click here.

8:07 p.m. – Bids have been opened for the Robinson/Day School Window projects. General contractors must be assessed to see if they are responsive and responsible.

Tom Mahanna and Tom Ellis of the Permanent Town Building Committee then gave an update on the bids as well as an update on the bleacher project at Westford Academy.

The Day School bid came in slightly under budget and the Robinson School bid came in substantially under budget if the lowest bitter is chosen.

The second-lowest bidder for the Robinson School would also keep things under budget.

Bill Olsen on Dec. 15
Bill Olsen on Dec. 15

Combined, the bids are around $300,000 under budget. However, they still need to be reviewed, the winners will be announced in January.

Both are under the accelerated program of the Massachusetts School Building Administration and they deal with some windows and door-related updates.

Vestibules will be added at the Day School and the vestibule at the Robinson School will be improved.

School Committee member Erika Kohl asked if Westford is on track for state matching funds.

Ellis said that the town is within the target parameters for the estimated funds, approximately a 46 percent match.

Kohl was then thankful for the efforts, Ellis said that the renovations would be done as soon as possible. It will be difficult at the Day School due to a lack of steel, although renovations will begin before the end of the school year if possible.

On the bleacher project, Mahanna noted that the home side of the bleachers was completed in 2013 but the visitors’ side couldn’t be completed due to budgetary limitations.

Superintendent Bill Olsen has discussed fees to raise the capital funding for the visitors’ bleachers and also updating bathrooms on site.

Mahanna said that due to building codes, permanent bathrooms would be required on site.

The cost of the visitors’ bleachers (399 person capacity) was assessed during the earlier bleacher project, but a study will need to be done regarding the plumbing issues.

There also may need to be a study on whether there will be satellite locker rooms and an expanded concessions area as well as drainage.

Mahanna said that it’s best to just look at it once and develop a master plan.

The town asked Mahanna and his committee to come before the School Committee to ask what should be done to complete the project.

Ellis said that the master plan would also look at locations of the potential bathrooms.

School Committee Member David Keele agreed that it’s best to get everything done at once regarding this master plan idea.

School Committee Member Margaret Murray asked what the plan would entail and asked if the facility would be used year-round or if it is closed down at certain parts of the year.

Mahanna said it would be closed during parts of the year and noted that would be a part of the analysis.

Murray then asked if solar panels or other green initiatives could be used.

Student Representative Will O’Neal said that there is some limited use of the facilities in the winter.

8:21 p.m. – School Committee Member Erika Kohl asked more about the master plan. Ellis said that it would be a quick look at how to improve issues in the area, such as drainage limitations near the baseball diamond. The focus would be where buildings would go and how that would be pursued down the road.

Kohl asked if the architect for the Robinson/Day School project would be used or if the project would go out to bid.

Ellis said that the bleachers would go through a public procurement process.

School Committee Member Angela Harkness echoed Murray’s sentiments regarding energy efficiency and also asked if the plans could give recommendations on segmented construction as well as the needed appropriation for the bathrooms.

It’s unclear how much will be needed to construct the bathrooms, but the plan will cost $20,000.

Harkness agreed with Keele that it’d be foolish not to pursue the plan now.

School Committee Member Arthur Benoit said that the plan isn’t as much about the bleachers since that has been already assessed, although said that the full design was needed since construction of the visitors’ bleachers without looking at the potential design of the bathroom locations may cause problems in the future.

In previous years, the track at the site had to be torn out due to a lack of planning.

Kohl said that the building did not meet code according to the building inspector, but it was approved due to pending construction.

She asked if it was mandatory to have some kind of plumbing, Clay said that was being looked at was a plan so it can be done in a smart way.

A motion was made for the master plan, it was moved unanimously.