May 8 2019

A Look at the School Department Capital Project Requests

By: Rich Hosford

Starting next week Town Meeting will be voting on a wide variety of articles, some of which include significant amounts of funding.


One article on the warrant is the annual Capital Budget projects made up of requests from various departments for new equipment, vehicles or facilities and repairs to existing buildings or systems. In total this FY20 capital requests add up to $2,924,823 with $1,400,000 coming from the school side.


Click Here to see the news breaking down the town side capital project proposals.


The first School Department capital request is $100,000 for design and engineering of the Burlington High School HVAC. According to the backup material this design will be used for the future replacement of school’s HVAC system, which has long been a priority of the department. The current system is original to the school, has had multiple repairs and is a failure concern for the district.


The next request is $125,000 for the Marshall Simonds Middle School boiler repair. The boiler, one of three installed in 2004 before the building renovation, has failed. One boiler unit was repaired last year and another failed this year.


The School Department is also seeking $200,000 to purchase the equipment, furniture and supplies to implement the Computer Science for All curriculum in the Middle School and High School. The program gives students an opportunity to learn about computers, programing, support and other related subjects.


There is also a capital request for $105,000 for a district-wide Walkie-Talkie system. They say this would allow administrators at each school to connect with staff throughout the school buildings and grounds. The system will also allow for direct communication with the Burlington Police Department during emergencies.


The district is also seeking $116,000 for a new Project Adventure course to pay for the old and out-of-service one that was built in the 1980s. The backup material says Project Adventure is part of the core curriculum for Burlington High School Health and Physical Education classes that were not offered this year due to the existing course not being available.


There is also a department request for $40,000 for room renovations at Pine Glen Elementary School. “This warrant article will allow for the purchase of materials and supplies to renovate learning spaces at Pine Glen to better suit the needs of students and faculty,” the backup materials states. Part of the funding would be used to reduce an existing storage space to allow the creation of a new learning space.


The department is also requesting $25,000 to renovate learning spaces at Fox Hill to better suit the needs of students and faculty. Two parts of the school have open spaces without definitions and the funds would allow the creation of new learning spaces similar to what is found in other parts of the building.


There is also a request for $140,000 to replace floors, restroom partitions, privacy screens, lighting, mirrors and plumbing fixtures (as needed) in Francis Wyman bathrooms. The bathrooms, which see a lot of use, are in disrepair.


The department is also seeking $225,000 for new air conditioning units at Francis Wyman Elementary School. The 14 units will be installed in classrooms on the first floor of the school and each room will have separate cooling controls. “This will provide for a better learning environment during late spring and early fall when conditions become intolerable,” the backup material states. This is the third phase of installing air conditioning in the school.


Burlington Schools have another capital request for $50,000 for floor repair and replacement at the high school. The department says both major hallways in the schools have areas of flooring that are peeling or swelling and that some have already cracked.


There is also a request for $33,000 to update computers in the high school computer lab. The department says they will, if the article passes, purchase 26 computers to replace “aging computers” that are seven years old. The current models no longer support newer operating systems and software used by faculty and students.


The department is requesting $65,000 to purchase replacement tables for the Marshall Simonds Middle School cafeteria. “The current tables are aged, with cracks and sharp edges,” the department says. “The proposed tables will provide ease of setup and cleanup. In addition, the proposed tables will create better traffic patterns throughout the cafeteria.”


There is also a request for $82,000 for new furniture in the Francis Wyman library. The current furniture, the department says, is aging and mixmaxed and “does not allow for the flexibility for 21st century collaboration and learning.” The new furniture would allow the library to form smaller collaboration groups and more traditional rows as needed.


The department is also seeking $40,000 for interior painting at Memorial Elementary School. According to the backup materials the funds will go to the purchase of supplies and materials to repair and repaint walls in the building. “The building renovation was completed in 2012 and the walls are in need of maintenance,” the department says. “Interior walls have scuff marks, nicks, cracks and dents and require attention.”


Finally, the school is also requesting $40,000 for interior painting at Marshall Simonds Middle School. Like at Memorial the walls are in need of maintenance due to scuff marks, nicks and dents.


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