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No Fixed Deadline on Space Needs Vote, School Committee Chair Says

Braintree may soon install 24 more modular classrooms to help address space needs.

The School Committee does not have a hard deadline for voting on a space needs proposal that could add 24 modular classrooms to Braintree's six elementary schools, committee chair Shannon Hume said this week.

Originally Hume said she thought the committee needed to take a vote to address space needs by its Jan. 28 meeting, but if members need more time to learn about the modular proposal and those involving Monatiquot School, they can vote in February and still have a solution in place by next fall.

"We’re not going to rush a vote because we have to meet a deadline," Hume said. "We’re going to do what’s best for the school district. This is a big decision.”

It is possible a vote could happen on the 28th, but only if committee members are satisfied that questions they have about the proposals have been answered, Hume said. Members have been notified about a trip with administration officials that Hume said she plans to make next week to Stoughton to see permanent modular classrooms installed there.

Braintree's four existing pre-fabricated classrooms – two each at South Middle School and Highlands Elementary – were installed in 2001 as temporary space, but have since become permanent fixtures as enrollment has continued to increase and new construction failed to advance.

School officials have said that any new modular classrooms would be put in place with an eye on permanence, and that they would likely be outfitted with newer design features and brick veneer.

"Modulars have come a long way," Hume said, adding that she "still needs a lot more info on both the modulars and Monatiquot.”

Hume also said she disagreed with the assessment by critics that the school department has not taken a holistic, long-term view of the district's space needs.

The town consistently makes upgrades to its schools, such as the $3 million renovation project at South, and the administration presents hundreds of thousands of dollars in capital projects to the committee each year, Hume said.

“We’re addressing the space needs and we’re always making upgrades to our schools," Hume said. "There is a long-term plan in place and we do look at the big picture."

Jennifer DC January 16, 2013 at 11:58 AM
Can the long range plan be posted to the schools' website along with the space needs report so that we can evaluate the plan against the district's needs? We can't evaluate the plan or understand it until we can see and read it ourselves. I would be happy to see what the district's plans are to update and add to schools beyond the modular classrooms.

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