Many factors remain unclear, including projected cost
An architect for the Cambridge firm that will reshape the century-old Arlington High School has suggested the job may cost more than $100 million and might have to be done in stages, as education continues during construction.
Much remains unclear -- including the cost, what exactly will occur and when -- as the School Committee moves toward asking the state to express its interest on the project.
"No one should be shocked that there are big numbers out there," Lori Cowles told the School Committee on Thursday, March 6, emphasizing how fuzzy the numbers are at this point. She is a principal for HMFH Architects of Cambridge, the firm that designed the $20 million Thompson School. The elementary school opened on time, last September, and under budget,
In a similar, shorter presentation, she suggested to selectmen Monday, March 10, that the cost could be as high as $130 million, but specifics remain unclear.
Superintendent Kathleen Bodie told selectmen that the earlier the town would be looking at a debt-exclusion vote is 2016.
The School Committee and selectmen have to sign off on paperwork called a statement of interest, which must be submitted to the state by April 11.
UPDATED, March 11: Two Arlington school teams remain in the MIAA tournament this weekend -- and both won.
No. 18 Arlington Catholic girls' basketball (20-4) beat No. 7 Watertown (20-2), 42-35, at the Tsongas Center, Lowell, on Saturday, March 8. The team next plays in the semiifinal against Duxbury at TD Garden at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, March 11.
In the state semifinals, Arlington Catholic girls' hockey (17-2-2) edged Austin Prep (12-6-3), 2-1, in overtime on Sunday, March 9, at Stoneham Arena. The team heads to the final against Duxbury at TD Garden on Sunday, March 16. Full summaries below.
UPDATED, March 10: William F. Armstrong, founder and owner for the last 68 years of the Arlington ambulance company he built, died Friday, March 7, at age 89, his company announced. A news release said Armstrong died peacefully, surrounded by his family.
The leadership team at Armstrong told employees and community partners, "It is with deep sadness that we share the news of Bill Armstrong’s passing.
"Bill devoted his life to the advancement of EMS care, and to the professionals who serve Arlington and Greater Boston -- from the EMTs, paramedics, chair car drivers and family of staff at Armstrong Ambulance, to our partners at the police stations, fire houses, hospitals and the network of community healthcare professionals. Bill’s unwavering dedication and service to others throughout his 68 years here at Armstrong Ambulance was humbling.
"He led by example, and mentored all of us as we strove to achieve the high standards he set for our EMS profession."
The head of student services for the Reading public schools who holds a master's degree in leadership from Harvard University has been recommended to direct Arlington's special-education department. The permanent position has not been filled for three years.
The School Committee on Thursday, March 6, welcomed Alison Elmer with some pointed questions.
"The No. 1 issue [with the department] is customer service," member Cindy Starks said. "Calls not returned, questions unanswered .... What would you do about it?"
Elmer didn't blink: She called for establishing sound policies and providing good communication, part of which means setting expectations. "Customer service is a delicate balance," she said. "In business, the customer is always right. In education, you have to understand what is driving a question."
Such exchanges with the public are "great conversations you have to have," she said.
Member Paul Schlichtman was direct: Why does she want to be special-education director?
UPDATED, March 9: Harry P. McCabe -- the longtime irascible voice and former moderator of Arlington Town Meeting, as well as a staunch supporter of services for senior citizens -- died Tuesday, March 4, in Boston. He was 85.
McCabe and Elsie Fiore represent the current "living history of Town Meeting," both having served for 52 years.
"We were always there," Fiore said in an interview March 6. "I think we hard near-perfect attendance" at Town Meeting.
Noting his crusty nature -- "something like mine," she said -- Fiore recalled McCabe's work with the Conservation Commission, where Fiore was a member, to preserve the Mt Gilboa neighborhood, where McCabe lived.
He was Town Meeting moderator from 1977 to 1989, immediately before John Worden, and a selectman from 1972 to 1975.
ACMi schedule for profiles, debates, election
UPDATED, March 11: Three races are underway for key offices -- for the Board of Selectmen, treasurer and School Committee for the annual town election, set for Saturday, April 5. Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. that day.
For a ride to the polls on Election Day, call 781-354-0907.
The League of Women Voters' Candidates' Night is scheduled for Thursday, March 20, at Town Hall. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; the forum starts at 8 p.m.
ELECTION'S EARLY LOOK: Those who take out papers in races that may be contested in April respond to basic questions about themselves and Arlington.
Michael G. Buckley was the last candidate to take out papers for a contested race in the 2014 town election, but he is eager to make his mark in a second run for one of three School Committee seats, as four are running.
The 46-year-old social-studies department chair at Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical High School in Lexington ran last year and received 3,082 votes, the newcomer against two incumbents.
Six students from Arlington who attend Minuteman High School in Lexington are among 33 who excelled in the SkillsUSA District Competition at J.P. Keefe Regional Technical School in Framingham in February.
Fifty-seven students competed at this event. Their faculty advisers are environmental technology teachers Terry Regan and Lauren Leshane. Those from Arlington are:
- Schwamb Mill spring open house Saturday
- Arlington residents in Cambridge Symphony's 'Tosca' Sunday
- High extracurricular fees: Committee sympathizes, but steps remain
- Report spells out state of AHS; tours start Saturday
- Lucy: A friend seeks a proper end
- Town Democrats to meet Thursday
- Master plan meeting on economic development March 20
- Suspect in crash pleads not guilty; Scutra open