The Milton School Board will decide how to address ongoing space issues at the Herrick Ave. building at a special meeting this week.
Community members are invited to discuss the project proposals on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 6 p.m. in the Milton Elementary School library, when board members intend to make a decision.
The district will also host a breakfast this Saturday from 9-10:30 a.m. to answer questions about the chosen project’s cost and scope of work and seek community input on funding options.
The trustees are considering how to relocate administrative offices to house new classrooms in the Herrick Ave. building. Proposals include purchasing permanent modular offices for the Bradley St. property or renting these trailers until the district can build a new space on that land.
“We don’t know what people are thinking unless they reach out to us,” superintendent Amy Rex said. “We have really appreciated the few folks that have been at the meetings and have come forward, but I think I could count them on one hand at this point.”
Trustees have discussed space issues in the building for several years, with matters exasperated by the addition of a pre-K classroom last year, board chairman Mike Joseph said. During its meetings, the board requested feedback as trustees waded through results of a space study and considered building an addition to the school.
They’re again requesting feedback as they look to finalize a plan. Community insight, Rex said, helps the board be better poised to make decisions.
Rationale behind the proposals as well as why other options—like moving seventh and eighth grades back to the high school—have been ruled out will be discussed.
“I never know if not hearing anything means support,” Rex said. “I’m not hearing anything. Does that mean everything’s OK?” she continued, adding that’s an assumption she and the board prefer not to make.
Opening the trustee’s Jan. 7 meeting, Reg Godin, a former educator, administrator and Milton board member, encouraged the board to take more time to find a space solution.
“At Herrick Avenue, you have too many students,” he said. “It’s not well designed for what you need, and I think you need to spend some time.”
He voiced concerns about the psychological impact of housing Grades pre-K through 8 in one building, the traffic during drop-off and pick-up and high turnover in administrative leadership at the elementary and middle schools. Godin suggested the board consider building a designated elementary school for the district’s youngest learners.
At the trustees’ Jan. 14 meeting, Lori Donna, who was the school board chairwoman when voters approved the Bradley St. building purchase, voiced similar concerns about the pace of administration’s plan.
Moving quickly to make an expensive decision could have a long-lasting negative impact, Donna said. She hoped the board might consider coordinating with the town on needed space or revisiting how to use space at the high school.
“We are at a crossroads in this community,” Donna said. “What we decide now will affect the next 10 to 20 years. Let’s get it right for the betterment of all.”