Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What happens now on school buildings?

What happens now?
We've got two things going on with the state now:

The Accelerated repair projects--May St, Chandler Magnet, Jacob Hiatt, Lake View, and Caradonio New Citizens Center*--are fast-tracked for their designated roofs, boilers, and windows. We'll have to use Mass School Building Authority pre-qualified Owner's Project Manager (who manage any project over $1.5 million, which both Lake View and Chandler Magnet are projected to be) and designers and be ready to move fast.
Note that "fast" doesn't mean this summer--we're a bit too close to that--but we can line things up so they're ready to fly next summer. Really this is internal management kinds of things on both finance and facilities ends, and, as the plan is to use the capital the city allocates for the Worcester Public Schools every year, there isn't an allocation complication, either. Mostly this will be happening behind the scenes.

Nelson Place, because we're talking either MAJOR rehab or a rebuild, is a different case. We've just been invited to the eligibility period for Nelson Place, which lasts 270 days ('though you don't have to take them all. Other districts pull these off in a couple of MSBA board meetings).  During that time, the district must:
  1. execute an initial compliance certificate (ICC). This is a sign-off by the (in Worcester's case) superintendent, city manager, and chair of the school committee (thus, the mayor) that we've read the laws and regulations, that we understand them, and that we have and will continue to abide by them. Note that this makes sure that the district isn't replacing a building its sold. Note further that it certifies that the district has been meeting minimum foundation spending on building maintenance.
  2. appoint a School Building Committee. This is done by the Chief Executive Officer of the municipality (thus, the city manager in Worcester), and it has some required membership, including the city manager, the superintendent, a school committee member, someone from MSBA, the facilities director, the principal, and others.
  3. submit a summary of district funding capacity (basically, "yes, we can pay for this")
  4. submit a summary of district maintenance practices ("and we're going to take care of it once it's built")
  5. certify design enrollment: in other words, let's agree on how many kids we're building this building for. MSBA has all sorts of experience in this now.
  6. confirm community authorization and funding.  This will be a City Council vote that they intend to build Nelson Place and they intend to pay for it. (And they have to get the wording right.)
  7. execute the Feasibility Study Agreement. This says we're ready to go...lining us up for putting together the project team (that's lining up the professionals) and (we hope!) another MSBA Board vote on entering the feasibility study.
...which in sum is: several different votes from Council and Committee, some paperwork and evidence to pull together on both city and school sides, and a committee to appoint.

What do we think, folks? Can we pull this together for the October 3 MSBA Board meeting?

*it's windows and roof for Lake View, a boiler for Jacob Hiatt, windows for Chandler Magnet, windows for May Street, and a boiler and windows for Caradonio New Citizens. 

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