Plans to obtain $68,000 detailed designs for a new Milton Town School District administrative office were approved by the three trustees present at Monday’s special school board meeting. 

The drawings will be a vital part of the permitting and bidding process as the district works to demolish a house on its Bradley Street property and replace it with the new office and 17-spot parking lot, facilities director Bruce Cheeseman said. 

The designs will be created by Wiemann Lamphere Architects who has followed the project from its beginning and knows its ins and outs, Cheeseman said. The new designs will include detailed information from plumbing to electrical work, floor plans to wall types. “You could hand [them] off to have someone build,” business manager Don Johnson said.

Wiemann Lamphere Architects conducted the initial space study which confirmed cramped quarters at the district’s Herrick Avenue building and suggested moving the district offices and teacher’s resource center to a new building to allow for five additional classrooms and an extra space in their current footprint.

During the meeting, board member Emily Hecker asked if these designs were part of the total cost estimate Johnson presented the trustees during the budget sessions prior to Town Meeting. Johnson said this cost was not part of that estimate but explained they did not want to tie this expense to a 30-year bond –which would add interest. Additionally, he said, they were unsure if the special article would pass and wanted to move forward with designs even if it failed.

“We knew we needed these plans regardless, so our plan was to fund this through our existing operating budget or the Capital Repair and Replacement Reserve fund,” Johnson said, adding there were efficiencies in other areas such as the decision to place administrators in existing spaces around the district instead of renting a mobile office in the interim period before the new space is built. 

Efforts to move administrators out of the existing district office and teachers’ resource center have already begun. “It looks like a military installation where they just picked up and moved,” Cheeseman said of the space, adding he and his team hope to begin work on the five-classroom retrofit as early as April 29. Their efforts will be aided in part by KJ Construction. 

As for the Bradley Street property demolition, Cheeseman said it will either be blazed by Milton Fire Department as part of their training or torn down by himself and his crew. But he doesn’t foresee either of those projects happening sooner than 90 days from now. The district is waiting on the state to approve its permit applications.

Before demolition can begin, the Bradley Street property must also be properly cleaned of asbestos which was detected there during a recent test. Likewise, Cheeseman and the facilities crew will carefully remove the building’s windows and vinyl siding –pre-destruction– and donate them to Habitat for Humanity. There are no salvageable materials inside the home, Cheeseman said. 

“We’ve got a lot to do yet,” he added.