WACHUSETT REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
HOLDEN ¨ PAXTON ¨ PRINCETON ¨ RUTLAND ¨ STERLING
Wachusett Regional School District Committee
Special Meeting #214, Monday, February 12, 2001
Wachusett Regional High School
Committee Members present:
Duncan Leith, Chairman David Lowenthal
John Rokicki, Vice-Chairman Peter MacDonald
Paul Anderson Lorraine Neilan
Jeffrey Gibbs John Nunnari
Kimberly Ferguson Kathleen Singh
Sherry Horeanopoulos Rosemary Warren
Jane James Jeffrey Wentzell
Committee Members absent:
Mary Copeland Kelly Maxwell
Kenneth Fensin Elizabeth Pape
Alfred D. Tutela, Ph.D., Superintendent of Schools
Paul Soojian, Director of Operations
Mary Scott, Director of Administrative Services
Philip Campbell, Director of Student/Information Services
Susan Sullivan, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent
Thomas Pandiscio, Principal WRHS
Linda Lehans, The Landmark
Joseph Lambert, Community Crier
Melanie Mangun, Clinton Item News
Douglas Briggs, Rutland Selectboard
Edmond Benoit, Chairman Holden Finance Committee
Joe Giotta, Holden Finance Committee
Ruth Briggs, Rutland
Janis Pancare, Sterling
Sue Schneeweis, Sterling
Debbie Croucher, Sterling
Janet Sidor, Princeton
Ann Walsh, Princeton
Deb Pospiel, Rutland
Greg Pospiel, Rutland
Tom Gogen, Sterling
Dan Olds, Sterling (student at WRHS)
Donna Dominguez, Sterling
Catherine Riley, Holden
Kimberly Dickman, Holden
Brian Tokarz, Holden
Caitlin Smith, Holden
Robert Becker, Holden
Edward McTigue, Paxton
Hal Lane, Holden
Jane McTigue, Holden
Angela M. Colwell Cubour, Holden
Lori St. Germain, Holden
Lisa Sutter, Holden
Joan Siegel, Holden
Karen King, Holden
Kathleen Halloran, Rutland
Chuck Ivaldi, Sterling
James Connolly, Holden
Jim Pedone, Holden
Pamela Robinson, Holden
Marianne Wojcicki, Rutland
Bob Williamson, Princeton
Patrick McNawn, Sterling
Dennis Criner, Sterling
Linda Trulson, Paxton
Bob Rauh, Rutland
Nancy Washkevich, Holden
Sharon Bednarek, Holden
Jeff Larson, Holden
Anthony Gribbons, Holden
Ginny Belcher, Holden
Carla Volturo, Princeton
Linda Sasso, Princeton
Maureen Sullivan, Paxton
Sue Reynolds, Holden
Jack Farley, Holden
Rosann Silver, Holden
Sheila Bachant, Holden
Otto Lies, Holden
Patricia McKeon Johnson, Holden
Melinda Johnson, Paxton
Ian Callahan, Holden
Beth Cunningham, Holden
Ryan Brennan, Rutland (Senior WRHS)
Mary Kate Cunningham, Holden (Sophomore WRHS)
Chris Belcher, Holden (Freshman WRHS)
Clif Wheeler, RutlandJames Hedlund, Holden
Karen Key, Holden
Chairman Duncan Leith opened the public hearing at 8:00 PM.
Chairman Leith introduced Drayton Fair and Jeffrey Davis from Tappe Associates, Inc. who presented the two options requested by the School Committee.
The following members of the public spoke:
Greg Pospiel, Rutland asked if the estimated cost could be higher by 5% or 10%. The architects responded that they look to value engineering and expect that their estimates would not be too low.
Nancy Waskevich, Holden asked if students would be subjected to double sessions. The architects reported that they did not believe so but that would be a determination by the School Committee and the Superintendent.
Joe Giotta, Holden asked what the capacity of the core facility was. The architects answered that the cafeteria could handle up to 2400 students and that there is leaway in the specifications in square footage for cafeterias.
Ryan Brennan, Rutland read a prepared statement (attachment 1).
Karen Key, Holden, asked about safety concerns during a renovation project. The architects reported that all precautions would be used: barriers, separate construction road, etc. During periods of abatement, the area would be sealed.
Jeff Larson, Holden read a prepared statement (attachment 2).
Jack Farley, Holden read a prepared statement signed by 121 faculty members at Wachusett Regional High School (attachment 3).
Sue Reynolds, Holden is opposed to renovation. She reported that the students at Dawson were disrupted and they had an opportunity to be housed in a separate facility. That would not be an option at the high school.
Hal Lane, Holden, supported building a new school. He emphasized the quality of the education at WRHS. One can look at SAT scores, MCAS scores and other standardized tests. It has taken fifty years to develop a program as exemplary as Wachusetts and the towns should vote to keep that program alive in one new building. Mr. Lane reported that he proudly watch the building of the high school and he would like to proudly watch the building of a new high school. He also commented on the negative discussions happening in the District. He feels that negative discussions breed negative feelings and that the focus should be on the positive.
Mary Kate Cunningham, Holden, read a prepared statement (attachment 4).
Chris Belcher, Holden, read a prepared statement (attachment 5).
Roseann Silver, Holden, supports the construction of a new school.
Joe Giotta, Holden, asked why the cost of the two options was higher than what would be reimbursed. The architects explained that the rates for reimbursement are not in line with construction costs. He further asked what would be lost if the numbers were lowered. The architects reported that less quality, less furnishings and technology or building smaller.
Deb Pospiel, Rutland, asked what the process was after the public hearings. Chairman Leith reported that another public hearing would take place at Thomas Prince School in Princeton on Wednesday at 7:00 PM and that the School Committee would be meeting on Thursday, February 15, 2001 at 7:00 PM in the media center at the high school to make a decision on which proposal to bring to the voters. The School Committee will then decide whether to have town meetings or a ballot but that either option would happen in April.
Thomas Pandiscio, Principal at WRHS reviewed some of the desperate needs at the high school and how critical a decision is. He supported the construction of a new high school.
Maureen Sullivan, Paxton, supported new construction.
Ginny Belcher, Holden, supported new construction. She also expressed concern about the negative comments in some of the five towns. She believed that we should pull together for the students.
Dan Olds, Sterling, read a prepared statement (attachment 6).
Ed Benoit, Chairman Holden Finance Committee, asked the cost of waiting. The Superintendent answered by distributing financial information on the cost of waiting (attachment 7). He presented this on the overhead projector as well.
Ed Benoit then asked what the parking was currently at the high school and what it would be in the new proposals. The architects reported that the high school currently has 230 spaces for faculty and visitors and 110 for students. The new proposals would have 550 spaces.
Chuck Ivaldi, Sterling, asked about the traffic flow of construction vehicles. The architects reported that the hope was to acquire the adjacent land.
Chairman Leith closed the public hearing at 9:15 PM.
Alfred D. Tutela, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools