Reconfiguration of Rooms for 2014-15

Update on Classroom Space

Reconfiguration of Rooms for 2014-15

Since I last wrote in February, plans have been finalized for summer work that will reconfigure several interior walls in order to meet the need for two additional classrooms next year.  The changes will result in some slightly smaller classrooms and new permanent spaces for our three Comprehensive Learning Center (CLC) classes with a net increase of two classrooms.  While complicated, these changes are all needed to make the plan work.  They will also bring a long-term benefit. Assuming the construction of four additional classrooms (see below), these changes would enable Lawrence in the long-term to accommodate four sections at every grade level and provide much needed additional space for our student services staff.

 The plan includes the following changes:

  • Relocate the wall between 4B and the Literacy Room and create two new spaces for the K-3 CLC and 4-5 CLC (about two-thirds the size of a regular classroom).
  • 4B will move to Room 240 (former Music Room) in the rear wing.
  • The literacy specialists will move downstairs to the current Math Resource Center. The Math Resource Center will move to a newly created space that combines a small office and the backstage practice room in the rear wing.
  • Relocate the walls between 5W, 5RW and Sarah Wolff’s ELL room to create three classrooms.   The new fourth section of fifth grade will be located in the additional classroom.
  • Relocate the wall between 6PC and the current Gr. 6-8 Learning Center to create a new space for the Gr. 6-8 CLC and a Gr. 6 classroom.
  • Divide the current Gr. 6-8 CLC in half to create space for the ELL room and a new home for the Gr. 6-8 Learning Center.

New Conventional Construction Plan to Add Four Classrooms

As was reported in February, the plan to add four additional modular classrooms in the rear parking lot was put on hold when only one bid was received at $4.2 million, which was significantly over the budget of approximately $2.1 million. The original plan called for pre-fabricated units, to be assembled and finished on-site. The original bid was only sent to vendors who specialize in this type of construction, which limited the number of bidders. The $4.2 million bid was judged to be noncompetitive and not in the best interest of the Town.

As a result, town and school officials asked the architects to prepare a cost estimate and time line for a conventional construction plan with the same overall design and location as the modular proposal in order to meet the criteria for construction which was already reviewed and approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals and had received neighborhood sign-off.

The new cost estimate for conventional construction of four classrooms is about $3.6 million, which would require an additional appropriation of $1.5 million above the $2.1 million expected to be available from the Capital Improvement Plan budget for classroom capacity.  The Building Commission and Board of Selectman have approved this additional appropriation, which still requires approval by Town Meeting.   If approved this spring, then the project will go out to bid in June and construction would begin in August with completion expected in time for the 2015-16 school year.

The new classroom addition, combined with this summer’s room reconfiguration, will enable Lawrence to keep pace with its anticipated growth to four sections at every grade level and provide additional space for our student services staff.

School Council Parent Representatives Still Needed

We are seeking two parents to serve a two-year term as School Council parent representative next year.   Nomination statements are due by Friday, May 2. Elections (if necessary) will take place during the week of May 12.  School Council meets once a month on Tuesday mornings from 8:00-9:00 a.m. with some subcommittee work in between.  If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact one of our current parent representatives (Florrie Ives, Steve King, Joanna Lieberman, Makeeba McCreary and Charu Puri-Sharma), Vice Principal Monica Crowley or me for more information.

Rick Rogers

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