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Newman's Modular Classrooms Moving Out

Volunteers helped school staff pack up materials in preparation to return to the newly renovated building this summer.

Today, just two days after school closed for the summer, crews will be getting to work taking down the at following the building’s recent renovation.

“Newman will be closed as of midnight tonight,” Needham Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Dan Gutekanst said at the School Committee meeting Tuesday, June 19. “The campus will be closed and the offices will be closed until July 9.”

Newman parents who need to reach the building principals can contact them at , Gutekanst said.

The Newman staff was busy up until 10 p.m. the last day of school, June 19, packing up their classrooms and offices. The quick job was completed with the help of many volunteers, including the staff at .

On Monday, June 18, about a dozen staff members from the YMCA ran various stations on teamwork, health and wellness and other topics for the kids at Newman Elementary School, giving the school employees time to focus on packing, Gutekanst said. Parent volunteers have also contributed numerous hours of their time helping the Newman staff pack for the “home-going” move.

At the meeting Tuesday, the superintendent also thanked the Needham and the for being so flexible with parking limitations in the area throughout the renovation process.

Crews from Consigli Construction Co., the company that designed and installed the modular classrooms, will be working over the next week or so to remove the units from the Newman property.

The newly remodeled Newman school building is expected to be ready for teachers to begin setting up their classrooms for the 2012-13 school year by Aug. 20.

In addition, a strong is underway to replace the playground at Newman, and Gutekanst said it was likely that the equipment would be in place by the end of September at the latest.

The school will be planning an open house prior to the start of school this fall—a chance for families to get a good look at the updated building before classes begin.

In addition, the school plans to host a “Newman Homecoming” event in the fall—a community-wide celebration that invites citizens, Newman alumni, former staff and current Newman families to come together to mark the school’s next chapter.

Details and specific dates for the open house and homecoming events will be available later this summer.

Doug Fox June 21, 2012 at 02:53 PM
The modular classrooms were gorgeous. Would've made a lot of sense to move them to Hillside or Mitchell.
Becca Manning June 21, 2012 at 04:14 PM
It's an interesting point. Someone raised that question at a recent School Committee meeting, and here's, roughly, the response the committee gave: There is no way the town/school district could have gone through the Massachusetts School Building Authority process to develop a plan and proceed with renovation/construction of Hillside or Mitchell on a schedule that would have allowed for the modular units to be reused immediately. The MSBA process, which is very specific and rather lengthy, is required in order for the district/town to be reimbursed for part of the project; otherwise the town/schools would have to fund the full Hillside/Mitchell renovation locally. And that process is in the very early stages. Basically, there's a certain amount of red tape required, and thus the schedules just don't align. Still have a question about the process? Contact the Needham School Committee at schoolcommittee@needham.k12.ma.us.
Sarah June 22, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Newman is a unique school......as in it has a gigantic parking lot....so there was space to put the modular school. I do not know of any space at Hillside or Mitchell that could do that.
Catherine Kurkjian June 26, 2012 at 04:45 AM
First, moving the modular school was not my intent but rather to bus the students to Newman (making modifications to the modular and/or common areas, as needed). In regard to Mitchell, although the site does not have a gigantic parking lot; according to feasibility studies, it has enough land to accommodate 2 schools. Second, in regard to the timing, it is not the process but the planning that I question; that is, why the current feasibility studies were not initiated back in 08/09 when the opportunity to utilize the costly modulars for multiple renovations presented itself. Given that relocation costs are not reimbursable, a collaborative effort to accelerate the renovation of one of these schools would have been advantageous. Third, it is my understanding that a school can only increase in size by 10% to receive reimbursement money. Although it may seem senseless not to seek a reimbursement through the MSBA process, there may be other options; for which, thinking outside the box could result in more cost effective solutions that would better accommodate the needs of the schools now and in the future. Finally, as stated in a previous comment, it is of concern that there have been no proposed solutions for the overcrowded high school. If tax payers are expected to support a projected 80 million dollar school renovation project, it would behoove the School Committee to conduct a wider range feasibility study to find a solution the high school overcrowding as well.
Cliff Hayden July 01, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Schools can grow up to 10% larger than the projected population 5 years out. In this case, that should be enough capacity for the Elementary level for some years, so I think it makes sense to stay in line for the 40% reimbursement from the State. The town also has to manage its debt carefully in order to maintain it's AAA bond rating. If we had accelerated Hillside and/or Mitchell, there is a good chance that our debt would have been too large for such a rating. Losing the rating would drive up the interest rate that us taxpayers would have to pay on our debt. This is why the Town has a master plan and schedule for capital investment in infrastructure. When the Newman emergency arose, it was slotted into the plan - but everything else had to slide out a couple years.

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