Last night Needham held a Special Town Meeting to address 16 warrant articles. Among those were two that are directly related to Needham Schools:
Article 11: Emery Grover Feasibility Study (approved)
The Emery Grover school administration building is in need of significant repairs, and has been on the town's Facilities Master Plan for many years. $130,000 was approved to evaluate options for the building: 1) full renovation/addition; 2) preservation of facade only with new construction behind; 3) full demolition and new construction; or 4) sale and relocation to leased or purchased space. This work will update and expand on a previous feasibility study conducted in 2013.
A previous request for the study was deferred at the May Annual Town Meeting due to concerns over using CPA (Community Preservation Act) funds for the study, which is no longer the funding source. By approving this article at Special Town Meeting, the project is still on schedule for the next phase to be presented at the 2020 Annual Town Meeting.
Article 12: Mitchell Modular Classrooms (approved)
$1,350,00 was approved for the construction of two modular classrooms at the Mitchell School, which are necessary to accommodate the start of full-day Kindergarten in the fall of 2019. Art and music classes will be housed in the new classrooms. Construction begins this spring.
Others articles of interest:
Article 8: Consulting Assistance for Needham 2025 (approved)
The goal of the N2025 project is to gain a better understanding of the impact of commercial and residential growth on town infrastructure, including: traffic, roads, transportation, water, sewer, technology and school facilities. The N2025 Committee is comprised of two members each from the Finance Committee, School Committee, Select Board, and Planning Board. $75,000 was approved to be pay for expert advice as needed.
Article 10: Public Safety Building Construction (approved)
Town Meeting unanimously approved an article to build two new fire stations and a new police station for a total of $66 million. The project still needs to be approved by town voters in a Prop 2-1/2 debt exclusion override on November 6 (Ballot Question 4). In the coming weeks there will be numerous information sessions to explain the projects to voters and answer questions. More information can be found on the Town of Needham website.