SCS Board receives update from Facilities Committee

The Shelburne Community School (SCS) Board listened to a presentation from the Facilities Committee on safety, maintenance, and educational issues Tuesday, Aug. 19 on campus.
The 90-minute meeting drew one community member, supervisory union personnel, and SCS personnel, as well as representatives from Dore & Whittier, a New England-based architectural firm.
According to SCS Co-Principal Allan Miller, the firm presented a comprehensive facility and site analysis. Spanning a period of four months, the company’s findings are based on interviews with staff, information gleaned from community meetings, and several SCS School Board Facility Committee gatherings. Those informational sessions led to the compilation of a list of deficiencies the Board will likely address.
Findings include:
Safety/Security concerns: Congested “traffic patterns” at the school, no “defined” school entrance, multiple entrance and exit points into building, student use of breezeway during school day and “open” classrooms that can’t be secured during an emergency.
Maintenance: Leaking roof requiring constant maintenance, many older building components reaching the end of their “service” life, and lack of energy efficiency, and use of a modular classroom designed for short-term use now in need of removal and replacement.
Education: Open classrooms designed with 1967 standards and subject to movement and sound distractions, lack of small-group settings close to classrooms for enrichment or remediation, and outdated technology infrastructure.
Following the presentation, a list of prioritized projects were drawn up by the Facilities Committee, who will wade through various options and present the best solutions to the community.
Working alongside the Facilities Committee, Dore & Whittier has drawn up some potential suggestions and approaches that would address the deficiencies on campus.
SCS Board Facilities Committee Chair Kathy Stockman said no timeline has yet been developed for work to begin. She also noted that no decision has been made on how to fund renovations and construction projects at the school. Financing may include money from the school’s operating budget or a voter-supported bond. “We’re not close to identifying what we need to do,” said Stockman. “We are weighing our options. The Facilities Committee met with the School Board and updated the Board on the specifics. We want to know what’s there and what’s feasible.”
Stockman and Miller both said the discussion on the facilities upgrade are expected to continue during the Board’s September meeting.