On July 18, 2019 the architectural firm, Dore & Whittier, was slated to reveal associated rough costs on new school(s) buildings– such as construction costs, swing space costs, and eligible reimbursables– with the School Building Committee. (See summary of City Council requests July 9, 2019 here.) The meetings are public. Associated costs were not transparent for the public. Instead a dollar sign rating system was illlustrated pictorially, like so:
Why were rough estimate details cut from the presentation? A few reasons were provided, namely “MSBA does not look kindly” on public disclosure because
- The MSBA aims to have the best possible build based on educatioal needs and goals rather than cost. Publishing amounts can taint the bidding or decision making.
- The public may be too attached to numbers they hear and/or be confused because of the (lengthy) timeline. By the time shovels hit the dirt the final bids will be different.
Other districts post all associated costs, why not Gloucester? Why are the design/build firms awarded these contracts charged with bidding out the cost evaluations on projects, especially ones greater than 5 million? Why assume this process is the only way to go about it?
Michele Rogers with Dore & Whittier announced that there were “no surprises” following review of the cost estimate comparisons. “Eliminations were easy; the most expensive were eliminated.” She concluded that this presentation was the second and final per their contract for services related to this Feasibility Study Phase. [This one feasibility study phase contract total cost is: $569,075 ($284,296 for the feasibility study and $275,704 for the future schematic design. One environmental study add on is $9075). Requests for a breakdown of all studies and plans related to new schools–at least since 2012– have gone unanswered by the school committee and architectural firm.]
The next step is to compile and deliver submission to the MSBA, the state agency tasked with reviewing Gloucester’s application for new schools.
Q. Next steps? “Submittal allows us to do geotechnical site evaluation and other necessary investigations (like traffic and environmental studies), and more design. Submittal helps us narrow down and leave behind areas we won’t bother with as we know…We’ll need to tighten the building design and handle specialized pieces. We’ll proceed from 9 options to 6 very quickly. ”
Q. What is the submission? “It’s a thick binder, maybe 10- inches thick, with all our reports to date, the educational program narrative, the space summaries approved earlier, etc.” Will the MSBA require a presentation? “No. The MSBA will review the binders within a two week turn around; then we have a two week turn around to respond.” Dunn commented to make sure the City see that. The MSBA will decide on November 13th or November 20th whether to make a recommendation to allow this proposal to proceed to the next phase: schematic design. “Or they’ll push back and request more information.” The MSBA “will not require more work on many options as the scoring was so low. They’ll be concentrating on the top 3 or 4 options.”
Tom Ellis was present related to a staff change; Roger who managed the design phase is moving out of state so the team for Gloucester will need to be reorganized. They met with MSBA July 17, 2019 to discuss this change. (Was someone from the city at the meeting?) Chris Tremblay will be assisting. “MSBA doesn’t like surprises,” Ellis remarked.
The costs and application should be public before it’s forwarded to the state. Chairman Jonathan Pope said he’d forward the pricing.
Double click on pictures to enlarge the slides for the “East Gloucester Elementary School Building Committee 7.18.19″. Color coding continues as in yellow = East Gloucester; Blue = Vets; and Green = Green Street area.
And the winner (high scoring) is…
one location at Vets and both at Green
“By October we’ll be back on schedule. Yes, MSBA has seen the schedule and is pleased.”
Reminder! Community meeting July 25 6:30 PM
How did we get here?
Catch up posts, documents, links related to Gloucester’s school committee new school buildings/consolidation process:
- July 18, 2019 Dore & Whittier was slated to reveal associated rough costs on new builds/construction costs/swing space costs, and eligible reimbursables, for presentation to school committee (no public comment) 5PM That did not happen. See post above
- July 9, 2019 Dore & Whittier Presentation to City Council (no public comment) scenes (this post) and link to 1623 Studios/Cape Ann TV taping of City Council meeting July 9, 2019 here questions from city councilors following presentation begin at 27:57 minutes
- July 9, 2019 Oral Communications to City Council HERE
- Mattos family letter to the editor HERE Save-Mattos-Field
- July 8, 2019 GDT article by Ray Lamont announcing presentation of 9 options to City Council noting that still nothing is final and no costs or reimbursement details will be available HERE
- June 26, 2019 School Commitee votes to accept options 1623 Studio (Cape Ann TV) taping HERE questions begin following Dore & Whittier presentation and prior to vote at 1:05 into taping (Joel Favazza, etc,”sounding the alarm about these sites but continually told hold on calm down this is not the time to ask” and now we’re at final options no discussions. “Foreclosing opportunity (for alternatives etc) despite telling community for months there would be chance.” He mentions 12-15 months but the questions about the sites and process go back well before 2015; see selected roundup below)
- June 20, 2019 School Building Committee votes to accept 9 options to present to school committee (no public comment) HERE
- June 20, 2019 Scenes and recap of new building plans presentation June 17 including full text of readings by Patti Amaral and Mary Ann Boucher HERE also reminder that school building committee to vote on this day for the options to push forward
- June 17, 2019 Reminder notice of Councilor Memhard Ward meeting about new schools (open to public comments) HERE
“A round up of Pros and Cons related to the recent West Parish construction and its use and operating costs since being built might be helpful. Some West Parish feedback that made the news ranged from small inconveniences (no dishwasher) to larger concerns about design (despite ample site the gymnasium was not designed with enough space for spectators, the design of the parking lot did not take into account ease in snowplowing and numerous vehicular/traffic snafus). There was no discussion about these proposals within a broader context of all the school properties, all the elementary schools, merging with Rockport, what happens with development of the older sites if Schoolhouse Road option is undertaken, etc.” Big built out schools haven’t demonstrated a reduction in operating costs. The state is considering policy for livable, innovative, green and walkable communities. You can’t alter special places, build mega schools that everybody needs to drive to, and have walkable, quintessential New England neighborhoods and green communities. Can we request a modified incentive to best match our geography and green goals?
- Spring 2019, School building committee website set up spring 2019 https://eastgloucesterbuildingproject.weebly.com.
- October 2018 GMG post MSBA school committee school consolidation update HERE
- October 2017 City Begins Quest for new Merged School: Search on for funding for East Gloucester-Veterans study, Gloucester Daily Times article by Ray Lamont HERE
- In February 2017, the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), a state agency, moved the Gloucester school consolidation proposal further along in its funding process. The MSBA cost page is here where you will find information and data about schools built either a)2008-2013 or b) 2014-current. West Parish is in there. (List of MSBA projects completed for Gloucester) MSBA splits out designer and project management phases from the final build which means you have to go back and forth between documents. Expected life span for new buildings is 40 years.
- September 27, 2016, GMG post, Ward 1 Community Discussion about new elementary schools at East Gloucester Elementary School HERE
- September 14, 2016 GMG post school consolidation meeting at West Parish HERE
- HERE’S A LINK TO THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PLAN PROPOSAL AUGUST 2016
- January 2015 joint City Council/School Committee meeting; presentation by Dore & Whittier HERE Option A Maintain all four buildings as they are with same number of classes per grade; Option B Make additions and renovations at all four schools; Option C Remove Plum Cove or Veterans and make additions and renovations at other three (2-3 classes per grade); Option D Remove Plum Cove and Veterans and make addition at Beeman (4 classes per grade), with 3 classes per grade at East Gloucester
- January 23, 2014 West Parish scope and Budget
The next Sawyer Free new building meeting (also Dore & Whittier)
folds into the Trustees meeting 7/23/19 and specifically capital projects Wed 7/24/19 8:30AM.