Votes to work on alternatives should June vote fail
The schematic design for a rebuilt Arlington High School was unanimously approved for state review on Tuesday, Feb. 19.
After reviewing design variations since last June, when an overall direction was approved, the high school building committee voted, 13-0, with five absent, authorizing Skanska, the project manager, to submit the schematic to the state School Building Authority on behalf of the district.
In a second significant vote, the committee directed two subcommittees to create and cost out alternatives, addressing what would happen if the debt exclusion vote were to fail.
Arlington came in third among the three competing in the MIAA Division 2 Track & Field Championships at Reggie Lewis Track Center on Friday, Feb. 15, behind Wellesley and Lincoln-Sudbury. The top three beat the previous meet record of 8:09.16.
AHS senior Ryan Oosting won the 2-mile.
The top boys' team results were 1. Wellesley, 61; 2. North Andover, 57; 3. Central Catholic, 43; and 4. Arlington, 34.
Committee backs new lights, keeping payroll at school; next meeting Tuesday
UPDATED, Feb. 12: The Arlington Building Committee, at the end of a four-hour meeting Tuesday, Feb. 5, voted unanimously to send to the state the latest estimate to rebuild the school -- $291.4 million.
The official vote took place after a series of straw votes a week earlier supporting $291.7 million. That total was reduced from $299 million. The general estimate since last summer had been $308 million.
Two committee votes kept the overall total from falling below $290 million -- decisions to keep the school payroll office in the new school and to install lights on reconfigured athletics fields, an addition of $1.3 million. The committee has postponed its next meeting until 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, from Feb. 12, because of the weather.
The Student Council is proud to present the Arlington High School Citizen of the Month for January -- May Kinnamon.
Matthew Janger, AHS principal, wrote Feb. 5:
The Student Council is proud to announce May Kinnamon as Arlington High School’s January Citizen of the Month. May was nominated by her peers for countless reasons. She is known by her classmates to be “a kind, intelligent, and hard-working student”. We want to thank her for creating a wonderful sense of community and bringing joy to everyone around her, for taking spending countless hours of dedication giving back to her school community, for friendliness to all her peers, and just being a person “who makes me smile every time you see her”! Classmates say “she lights up the room with her positive energy.”
UPDATED, Feb. 5: The total estimated cost of rebuilding Arlington High School has declined again, this time to $291.7 million.
The building committee arrived at the new number, which had not yet been officially voted on, following an exercise Thursday, Jan. 31, in which 18 members participated in a series of straw votes to determine which aspects to keep and which to cut.
An official vote occurred Tuesday, Feb. 5, with a final vote on the cost before sending all documents to the state School Building Authority set for Feb. 12.
UPDATED, Feb. 6: Members of the School Committee's community-relations subcommittee want to know what you think about the proposal to change the school-day start time to 8:30 a.m. for the Gibbs, Ottoson and Arlington High.
This change would take effect on the first day of school next September, if the district decides to make this change.
UPDATED: The estimated cost to rebuild Arlington High School was reduced to $299 million after the school building committee reviewed a dizzying list of cost considerations on Tuesday, Jan. 29. The School Committee continued the discussion Wednesday night, and the building committee again Thursday.
Since last summer, the project total has stood at $308 million. In a 11-4-1 vote, the committee agreed to the lower total after Skanska USA, the project manager, provided estimates they viewed as the most accurate to date.
Marking the three-hour meeting were searching questions aimed at trying to clear up confusions, apparent vacillation about how to proceed as well as moments of pointed frustration. Consider these specifics:
More-precise cost estimates for project made public
UPDATED, Jan. 30: With some feeling the weight of what town voters might accept, members of the Arlington High School Building Committee have supported a fresh exterior design fronting near Mass. Ave., mixing older and newer elements.
The vote on Tuesday, Jan. 22, to merge two of seven options came days before the committee was to find out about a more precise estimate of the project's total cost, which the state has capped at $308 million. That occurred at the meeting set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29, and is reported separately here >>
In other key news from that meeting, the committee:
-- Voted to use the Parmenter School only as a temporary location for Menotomy Preschool during construction of AHS and not for permanent relocation of either the preschool or the district administration offices. For more, click here >>
UPDATED, Jan. 27: The Arlington High School boys' and girls' track teams participated in the Large Schools Coaches' Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Reggie Lewis Center, Roxbury.
In the two-mile, Nick Valianti of Marshfield won (9:40.05) and Miles Harrison of Arlington placed second (9:43.83), BostonGlobe.com reported. See a summary >>
In addition, AHS senior captain Ryan Oosting ran in the New Balance Grand Prix on the same day in the afternoon, also at Reggie Lewis. Results are awaited.
UPDATED, Jan. 25: An estimated 200 people in Town Hall on Monday, Jan. 14, heard 25 among them ask questions in the second public forum about rebuilding Arlington High School.
They ranged from clear support to queries seeking clarification to stern comments about the projected $308 million cost.
In summary, no one explicitly objected to rebuilding the school, the first part of which was constructed in 1914, the last in 1981.
A key moment in the evening came when Carl Wagner, part of a group critical of the school's design and use of open space, asked those gathered: "How many support this project?" Many hands shot up.
UPDATED, Jan. 23: Registration for kindergarten for fall 2019-20 is opening earlier this year than in past years in order to align better with applications for after-school programs, schools' Superintendent Kathleen Bodie has announced.
School Committee expects to cut nothing of what has been proposed, unless total tops $308M
January promises to be a crucial month in the rebuilding of Arlington High School, particularly at the end, when specific costs estimates are to arrive from its project manager.
The numbers from Skanska are due Jan. 28. The day after that the estimates are to be reconciled with Cambridge architect HMFH, and key town officials, including the building committee. If the process takes another day, a further meeting will be held Jan. 31.
At stake during this crunch time is the project's overall cost. Since June, that has been estimated at $308 million.
Might it be higher? No, says Superintendent Kathleen Bodie, who told the School Committee on Dec. 20 that the state School Building Authority, which is driving the process, will not accept a greater amount.
If the estimates come in higher, then top school and town leaders plus the building committee must decide what to cut.
Overall, the sense of the School Committee, expressed Dec. 20, is to cut nothing that has been proposed so far.
The Arlington Education Foundation (AEF) has completed its fall grants cycle and has awarded a total of $22,434 in two grant categories, Innovations in Education and the Continuing Scholar Award.
“The diverse pool of grant recipients in this cycle really illustrates our broad partnerships across the district. AEF is supporting projects from our district METCO director, several classroom teachers, a music teacher, an ELL teacher and even some inspired parents. In total, the grants awarded this fall will enrich the learning experiences of students from kindergarten through high school over a variety of disciplines,” remarked Ann Pirone, AEF president, in a Dec. 13 news release.
Innovations in Education grants support innovative teaching and learning in classrooms throughout the district. This fall there were nine such grants awarded:
UPDATED, Dec. 8: Karen Donato, principal of the Thompson School, in an email Friday, Dec. 7, said graffiti was found in a school bathroom, and officials are calling it hate speech.
After school, parents and students responded with some graffiti of their own -- showing images of love, as shown above.
Donato wrote: "I am writing this morning to make you aware of an incident that occurred yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately, graffiti was found in one of the stalls of the bathrooms on the first floor. The graffiti contained swears, racial slurs, and has been removed. Based upon the nature of the language, we are treating this as hate speech.
Principal asks that HMFH not be 'held back'
UPDATED, Dec. 7: The Arlington High School Building Committee voted Tuesday, Dec. 4, to follow the lead of a community survey and direct Cambridge architect HMFH to pursue option A, the more traditional exterior design for a rebuilt school.
Comments by members show they favored less traditional schematics, but, overall, they chose to abide by the community poll.
In a survey completed by 1,442 respondents, option A received a 3.45 overall rating, option B 2.76 and option C, the least traditional, 2.93.
AHS Principal Matthew Janger offered a strong appeal, urging the architect not to feel constrained by the choice. "We have a talented architect," he said, suggesting that the concept chosen can "grow if you don't hold them back too much."
He reflected comments from other committee members who downplayed the importance of external appearance in favor of focusing on the education taking place inside the building.
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