PREVIEW OF SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING ON THURS 9/8/2022 AT 7:30 PM AT READING MEMORIAL HIGH SCHOOL (RMHS) LIBRARY – KILLAM SCHOOL BUILDING PUBLIC HEARING
The Reading MA school committee is holding a public hearing on Thursday 9/8/2022 at 7:30 pm at the RMHS library, and the primary focus of this public hearing will be the Killam elementary school project. The agenda does include approximately 15 minutes for public comment and “reports” from the members and central office staff, with the presentation and info on Killam scheduled to start at 7:45pm and run until 9pm, with time for audience questions.
The packet (link below) includes Killam project information from pages 4-13, and the rest of the packet from pages 14-27 is correspondence. Scroll to the end of this article for a link to the packet and some brief notes describing this correspondence – they appear to be related to topics of possible community interest.
I have included the main Killam points below, which show at a high level, why the Killam project is needed, how MSBA funding works, why the town/schools will be asking town meeting in November 2022 for $2.2 million dollars for a feasibility study, what this study covers, and the other steps in the process, including a timeline.
The many problems with Killam, as listed in the presentation and the memo at pages 12-13 of the packet, include, but are not limited to:
- Lead in drinking water
- Lack of ADA compliance in Hi-Def areas, student and staff bathrooms, entrances and exits, cafeteria stage
- Classroom access requires passing through other classroom
- Limited electrical and data connections
- Lack of fire sprinkler system
- Large scale door and window replacement needed
- Opportunity for increased sight lines for safety
- Water infiltration during heavy rain
- Sightlines to the main doors are poor, presenting a security concern
- Library is an open space and difficult to use for quiet activities and those requiring a degree of privacy, such as special education or other services
- Tier 2 supports (such as small reading groups) are taking place in open settings, including hallways.
- Spaces originally intended for storage have been converted to offices and even learning spaces in some cases.
The memo also explains that:
It could be possible to address some of these deficiencies through smaller renovation projects, but given the scope of the needs, it is likely that any significant renovations would reach a threshold of 20% of the building’s assessed value. This would trigger a number of compliance requirements that are currently grandfathered in (including ADA compliance). As a result, while renovations are a possible outcome of the MSBA process, a new building may be the more likely outcome.
Additionally, although the topics of the aforementioned correspondence on pages 15-27 are not slated for discussion in this meeting, there may be community members who have much interest in the topics and content of this correspondence:
- The correspondence on pages 15-17 relates to a former Reading board of health (BOH) member’s thoughts and recommendations regarding the RPS Covid-19 protocols.
- The correspondence on pages 18 relates to issues with cell service in the Birch Meadow/RMHS area, especially Verizon service.
- The correspondence on pages 19-27 relates to concerns by RMHS boys and girls swim team members and families about the assigned times for swim team practice at the Burbank Y, and responses to those concerns from the RMHS principal and the President/CEO of YMCA of Greater Boston.
HOW TO WATCH THIS MEETING:
This meeting can be accessed multiple ways, including via Zoom, RCTV YouTube, RCTV local cable access channels (Xfinity CH 99, Verizon CH 32) , and of course, in person.
LINKS TO PARTICIPATE AND/OR WATCH THIS PUBLIC HEARING: