In order to build inside the Wellesley High School during winter, Project Manager Richard Gurney and project Superintendent Jamie Meiser presented an updated plan to use exterior heaters to the Board of Selectmen.
The 4.5 million BTU, propane-powered heaters, are needed to pump warm air into the building for proper curing of the mortar and drywall. "Required for material, not for manpower," Meier explained. He added with a smile that "the guys" do love it, however.
The original site plan included four of the heaters, which will run 24-hours a day. The group's request changed the proposed location of one of the four heaters from Rice Street to the side of the building. A network of propane tanks will service the heaters which, because of the constant use, will be refueled every day.
This proposition did worry some of the neighbors.
"Our only relief during these project months has been Sundays," said Anita Alder of Seaver Street. She addressed the Board, "I ask that you take extraordinary measures to mitigate the noise."
Meiser explained that a company has been contracted to design special structures to curtail the noise around the heaters. The request was approved, and Chair Katherine Babson added that some rendered drawings of the finished high school will be on display in the Wellesley Library and Town Hall.
Changing tone, the Board welcomed World of Wellesley President Phyillis Gimbel and Board Chairman Richard McGhee. The pair presented the past, present and future of the organization committed to "make Wellesley a welcoming community where everyone is accepted" (from the Mission statement).
"It's very difficult to quantify attitude," Gimbel acknowledged. "I can't quantify it, but I think it's something that's important to the town."
The group, celebrating its 20th year of promoting diversity, puts on a variety of diversity-themed events throughout the year, including the recent Legislator Forum and an upcoming celebration of Diwali, the Indian festival of lights.
"It would be nice if what we do becomes what the town does," commented McGhee.
Before 2006, Comcast ran the Public Access cable channel for the town of Wellesley. In '06, however, they left, and the Wellesley Cable Access Corporation (WCAC) was born. Each year since, the Board of Selectmen meets to review the WCAC's business for the past fiscal year.
Now in its fourth year, the group is steadily improving and operating under budget.
"You have slightly over $1 million in the bank, essentially," pointed out Selectman's Office Executive Director Hans Larsen.
In addition to broadcasting "PEG" programming (Public Education and Government), the WCAC also offers classes on the many facets of video production.
James Joyce, WCAC Executive Director explains, "If anybody wants to learn digital editing or something like that, we teach the classes."
Several upcoming initiatives for the group include launching a Government-specific channel, in addition to the current channel (channel 9 on Comcast, number 39 on Verizon) and relocating the studio facility.
"We're well on the way to resolving it," explained WCAC Chair, Daniel Kasper. The channel is working with Larsen to acquire a building on route 9, in front of the Fire Station. The historic red building is owned by the town and currently unoccupied. The exterior of the building will not change, but the interior can be redesigned to accommodate a television studio.
The Wellesley Channel hopes to present the plan next year during a town meeting. While the Selectmen did not make determinations on the fate of the channel pending an audit, the Board's tone was very positive.
Finally, the Town-Wide Financial Plan Committee presented some suggestions on how to improve the financial planning process for the town budget. The ideas included transparency, long-term planning, and voting on the plan during annual Town Meetings.
Babson is eager to share this "thoughtful and thorough" document on the website and with other town boards.