Westfield Newsroom

Building board to tackle cost estimates

WESTFIELD – The School Building Committee will meet Monday to discuss issues related to the new elementary school, including a possible name, and to establish subcommittees.
Mayor Daniel M. Knapik said this morning that the building committee will discuss several issues, including a decision to bury power and communication lines near the intersection of Ashley and Cross streets.
Knapik said the decision to flip the parent and bus drop off areas (parents were originally designated for Ashley Street and buses for Cross Street) required a reconfiguration of the Cross Street drop off area which will now be used by parents.
“We had to widen that area, so the utility poles will be removed at the intersection and utilities put underground,” Knapik said. “The city will make the connections to the houses affected by this.”
Knapik said the building committee will also discuss possible names for the new building, a discussion which will eventually include the School Committee which will make the final decision. Current School Committee policy is to use geographic names for buildings.
“I’d like to stay with that and bring a piece of history back, calling it the Ashley Street Elementary School,” Knapik said. We can also recognize the schools that are being closed by designating interior areas of the new school, such as the Abner Gibbs Memorial Library.
Kevin Sullivan, a School Committee member and vice chairman of the School Building Committee said this morning that the committee will discuss, and perhaps establish, subcommittees to address specific topics.
“I think that (Project Manager) Paul Kneedler (of Skanska USA Building Inc. of Springfield) would like to set up subcommittees for technology, (community) communication and decor design, find out who on the committee is interested in those tasks,” Sullivan said.
Knapik said recently that the new school will have technology that will become the template for all elementary schools in the district. The School Committee is currently discussing submitting a $2 million bond request to the City Council to fund the second phase of the district’s technology program. Phase one revamped technology at the city’s high and middle schools.
“We’d like to get committee members with specific expertise onto the subcommittees,” Sullivan said, “to get the architects and teachers involved in deciding color schemes in classrooms and the common areas of the building.”
The committee is slated to meet Monday night at 6 p.m. in the Ashley Street administrative building.

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