March 6 facilities meeting to discuss survey results and choose scenarios for cost estimates

At its next meeting on Tuesday, March 6, the Lay Facilities Committee (LFC) will seek to reduce from six to three the number of facilities scenarios it sends to the district’s consultants to cost out. The buildings subcommittee presented six possible facilities scenarios for the LFC to consider at its Jan. 29 meeting. On March 6, the community subcommittee also plans to share initial results of the community survey it conducted, which concluded March 2.

The March 6 meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at Canterbury Elementary School, 2530 Canterbury Road.

Each of the six scenarios includes maintaining the high school at its current location, reducing the number of middle schools from three to one or two, maintaining four or five of the current seven elementary schools, and maintaining an elementary school in University Heights at either the Gearity or Wiley sites.

The building subcommittee has made additional recommendations that would apply to each of the scenarios: keep the current grade configuration, and don’t go “all-in” for the learning communities concept.

District administration has said it would like to change the grade configuration. Currently, Heights middle schools house grades six through eight. The district would like to move grade five from the elementary to the middle school buildings in order to provide one more year for parents and students to acclimate to a new building before moving on to high school.

At the LFC’s Feb. 13 meeting, the sustainability working group made several recommendations, including creating a comprehensive demolition and waste management plan, using alternative source readiness construction, and setting high goals for energy efficiency and other sustainable practices that would take the project beyond LEED Silver.

In a notice posted to the school facilities discussion page at the Civic Commons (http://theciviccommons.com/conversations/ch-uh-school-facilities) on March 1, the sustainability working group has recommended that the district halt plans to install artificial turf at the high school football field until the master facilities plan is completed. Among others, the group cited concerns about the substrates used to create the turf, as well as the harmful effects of pesticides used to clean and maintain it.

The building subcommittee also made several recommendations, including removing all postwar editions to prewar elementary and middle school buildings, restoring their façades to their original appearance, and making any new additions compatible with the historic architecture of the original structures. Specific recommendations for the high school included removing the science wing that currently obscures the original front façade from Cedar Road and grouping activities likely to be used by the general public, such as the indoor pool, on the west side of the building in order to make them more accessible during off-hours without having to have the entire building open.

All LFC meetings are open to the public. The LFC plans to hold three additional community meetings in March with the specific aim of listening to the questions and concerns of Heights residents about the facilities scenarios. The meetings will be held Tuesday, March 12, at Wiley Middle School; Wednesday, March 13, at Roxboro Middle School; and Thursday, March 14, at Monticello Middle School. Each meeting will begin at 7 p.m. and last until 8:30 or 9 p.m., depending on the need.

For more information about the LFC and the school facilities process, visit www.chuhfacilities.org.

Deanna Bremer Fisher

Deanna Bremer Fisher is executive director of FutureHeights and publisher of the Heights Observer.

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Volume 6, Issue 4, Posted 11:34 AM, 03.05.2013