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Modular classroom sites ID'd for Stratton students during 2016-17 renovation

UPDATED, April 6: Six modular classrooms will be situated at Ottoson, Hardy and Bishop schools to accommodate Stratton students while their school is renovated in 2016-17.

Stratton sign

Superintendent Kathleen Bodie told the School Committee Thursday, March 26, that the six classrooms would accommodate two Stratton grades at each site. Fourth and fifth graders will be at Ottoson.

School Committee logo

Bodie met with the Stratton PTO on Wednesday, April 1, and discussed what is expected to occur during the 2016-17 school year, now that the town Capital Planning Committee has voted to recommend the funding of the renovation project to Town Meeting. The town Finance Committee endorsed the plan March 25.

Links to Stratton plans

"Locating the older Stratton students’ classrooms at Ottoson brings an additional benefit to the district," Bodie said. "Given the district’s enrollment growth over the last few years, the middle school will require additional classroom space in 2017-2018 to accommodate the larger numbers of students moving up from the elementary schools."

Stratton students would be bused to the three schools.

Currently, all of the grades at Ottoson are under 400 students. The public schools' current third grade has 473 students; second grade, 464 students; first grade, 479 students; and kindergarten, 513 students.

She said the modular classrooms installed at the middle school will be designed for many years of service, which provides time for the town to consider options for the middle school.

She said the three sites designated for modular classes could change when the project goes out to bid. That is expected in the spring, because such classrooms must be ordered a year in advance.

The administration has not determined which grades will be at Hardy and Bishop. The supported learning program will move to Peirce School for 2016-17.

The schools involved could change, but, as of now, she said, "We're pretty set on sites."

The locations were chosen in the light of the fact that modular classes have to be connected to a building and have the flat area nearby on which to be situated.

A tight construction scheduled. Renovated Stratton has to be ready to open in September 2017.

Asked whether classrooms would be leased or purchased, Diane Johnson, the schools' chief financial officer, said that is not yet known.

Of the prefabricated modular classes, which comply with the America With Disabilities Act, Bodie said with a smile, "They're air-conditioned."

Bodie noted that parking needs at Ottoson will have to be addressed to accommodate a structure there.

Johnson said the longer-range view of enrollment shows continued increases, with 600 live births in Arlington.

A study of space needs in the light of the schools’ enrollment increases is expected to be conducted this summer by HMFH of Cambridge. The architectural firm designed the rebuilt Thompson School. A report is expected by September.

AHS rebuild support, Sanborn donation

The committee voted to support an updated statement of interest for state funding help to build a new high school. The letter is the second attempt in two years to secure funding from the state School Building Authority, which chose other schools in 2014. A response to the second request is expected in December.

In other business, the School Committee heard:

* A presentation by two representative of the Elizabeth and George L. Sanborn Foundation for the Treatment and Cure of Cancer Inc.,  during which they presented a check for $35,000 to support antitobacco education in schools. The group has donated $578,190 since 2000. Evelyn Smith-DeMille and Laurie August spoke.

* Bodie report that the Finance Committee listened to a 3 1/2-hour presentation of the fiscal 2016 school budget on March 23 and then endorsed the spending plan two days later. "They had very good questions, particularly about special education," she said.

* Sixth-grade teachers at Ottoson Middle School discuss a pilot about one-to-one iPad instruction in their classrooms. They said touchscreen computers eased document-sharing and collaboration. 

March 22, 2015: Stratton School renovation moves forward; students to be relocated in 2016-17

Sept. 21, 2014: At last, study spells out steps for Stratton revamp, if it can be funded

This summary was published Monday, March 30, 2015, and updated April 6, to add liok to Stratton project.

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