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CITY OF WOBURN
SEPTEMBER 22, 2014 – 7:00 P.M.
COUNCIL CHAMBERS, WOBURN CITY HALL
SPECIAL MEETING OF THE CITY COUNCIL
Pursuant to Title III, Section 12 of the Charter of the City of Woburn, His Honor the Mayor has called a Special Meeting of the City Council to be held in the City Council Chambers, Woburn City Hall, 10 Common Street, Woburn on for the purposes of endorsing the preferred option for Hurld/Wyman Elementary School site and any other matters legally before the City Council.
The School Committee also called a Special Meeting for the same purposes and convened in the Council Chamber on the same date and time. Attending for the School Committee were Chair
Frederick Metters, Member Patricia Chisholm, Member Ellen Crowley, Member Joseph Demers, Member Christopher Kisiel, Member Michael Mulrenan and Member John Wells. School Committee Chair Metters deferred to President Haggerty to preside and manage the meeting while both the City Council and the School Committee were in session. _________________________
Motion made and 2nd to suspend the rules for the purposes of hearing from His Honor the Mayor Scott Galvin, all in favor, 9-0.
Mayor Galvin requested that a moment of silence be observed in memory of Patrick Gill, a Winchester High School student who died in a motor vehicle collision.
Mayor Galvin stated that this meeting is an opportunity to show collaboration and support of the
City Council and the School Committee to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) with respect to the site of the future Hurld-Wyman School, that four public hearings have been held regarding the issue, that there have been several School Building Committee meetings, that there were four proposed sites at the Wyman School site, the Hurld School site, the Spence Farm site on Wyman Street and a vacant lot at 71 Wyman Street owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also referred to as the Mormon Church property, that the Wyman School site was eliminated as it was not suitable for a 410 student building, that the
Mormon Church property required an eminent domain proceeding or a land swap and was eliminated from consideration, that the Spence Farm site was chosen for a number of reasons, that if the Hurld School site was selected the students would have to be sent to a swing school space which has costs as well as disruption to the students ,that there was concern that the farm stand, pond, tree farm and farmers market land not be conveyed to the School Committee, and that the City Council has control over the disposition of the property. Mayor Galvin submitted a proposed Order and map of the Spence Farm site for the City Council to review. Motion made and 2nd that the documents be received and made part of the record, all in favor, 9-0. Superintendent of Schools Mark Donovan stated that the Spence Farm site is recommended as the appropriate site for the new Hurld-Wyman School. Kenneth DiNisco, President/Principal, DiNisco Design Partnership Limited, 99 Chauncy Street, Suite 901, Boston, Massachusetts 02111 stated that the proposed building would be just under 71,000 square feet, that school enrollment is projected at 410 students for the combined sites, that the process is focusing on site selection at this time, that the Hurld School site has been used as a school site for over fifty years, that the property has a larger acreage however there are wetlands and Cummings Brook on the locus, that there is a pathway connecting the neighborhoods, that the building site has been delineated with respect to the wetlands, that a challenge of the site is to separate student drop-off and pick-up of the three story building, that the Spence Farm site has extensive frontage on Lowell Street and Wyman Street, that the site has a pond that was originally developed for irrigation and a ledge outcropping, that there is a high water table in the area, that a driveway would connect the north and south ends of the property, that the pond and farm stand can be retained, that some parking is moved to assist with vehicle circulation, that there is room for a garden area, that sidewalks will be installed between the farm stand area and the school, that twenty vehicles can queue in one direction which will avoid back-up of vehicles into the street, that ninety cars would be peak parking usage with 55 parking spaces for the school and 35 parking spaces for the farm stand, that the two uses do not conflict as the hours of operation would be different, that the gymnasium will be located on the second floor, that there is no distinct advantage between the current Hurld School district and the current Wyman School district with respect to the Spence Farm location, that the locus is a central and neutral location, that the formal submission date to the MSBA is October 2, 2014, that when there is a project funding agreement in approximately March 2015 the City Council will have to act on funding and the School Committee will have to act on the educational function, and that this meeting tonight is critical to the process. Mr. DiNisco offered a copy of the presentation to the City Council for review. Motion made and 2nd that the document be received and made part of the record, all in favor, 9-0. Mayor Galvin stated that there will be more of a buffer zone than there is currently. Superintendent Donovan stated that no more than five buses are anticipated for the Spence Farm location. Mayor Galvin stated that parking would not be allowed on Lowell Street, that in case of a large event parents will likely park along Wyman Street, and that there will be more parking than is currently available. Mr. DiNisco stated that he is not aware of a similar rain garden system elsewhere in the city, that the rain garden is not designed to hold water but to assist in the dispersion of water, that the system also enhances the site as it includes plantings, that the easterly edge of the property backs up to residences many of which have fences, and that if no fence is in place near the residences then a vegetative barrier should be provided. Mayor Galvin stated that there is not enough space to address the needs of the students with a two-story building. Mr. DiNisco stated that early drawings showed two-story buildings but each consumed too much space to the point of encroaching on neighbors and using too much open space on the site, and that the average depth of the pond is five feet. Mayor Galvin stated that a decorative fence will be erected around the pond, that the perimeter of the pond will be cleared, that benches will be added to that area, and that three will be a savings of approximately $500,000.00 to $700,000.00 by not using the Clapp School site as a swing space. Mr. DiNisco stated that street lighting improvements will be made at the entry points to the site, that a lighting system for security can be controlled, that the lights can go dark at dusk, or there can be some lighting for security purposes or there can be lighting similar to other schools. Mayor Galvin stated that there will be a roadway around the building for police and fire protection. School Committee Member Wells stated that there should be consideration of the use of the building for election purposes and the impact of that use. Mayor Galvin stated that the Clapp School site stills serves as a swing space and is under the jurisdiction of the School Committee, that he urges the School Committee to retain control of the Clapp School until after the new Hurld-Wyman site is decided, that there is $500,000.00 in an account to raze the Clapp School, that the Clapp School site has been designated as an Article 97 property, that there will be work on the flooding issues in the Spence Farm area, and that they are working to ensure there will be no flooding issues beyond current conditions. Mr. DiNisco stated that there will be 45 parking spaces for staff, 10 parking spaces for school visitors and 35 parking spaces for the farm stand use for a total of 90 parking space on site, that the peak use of 90 parking spaces can be used for school activities or a function at the farm stand, that this is much more adequate parking, that there is a sensitive balance between what parking is needed for infrequent peak activities with the daily use requirements, and that there is an ability to expand the parking a bit if needed. School Committee Member Chisholm stated that there needs to be as much parking as possible for an elementary school. Mr. DiNisco stated that loading will take place in an area that will be paved and also used by the school children, and that this will be unlike the Goodyear School which has a commercial loading area. Alderman Drapeau stated that he is concerned about enrollment, that there is some indication that enrollment will increase in the future, and that the Reeves School is already at its maximum capacity. Superintendent Donovan stated that the city provides MSBA with data including projected enrollment, that there are five rooms that can be converted to classroom use if needed, and that the MSBA does not approve the schools built outside what is supported by the data. Mr. DiNisco stated that the project funding agreement has to pass MSBA staff review and the MSBA would be formalized by vote and the funding agreement would follow, and that there is an eight month lead time for the permitting process before the project is ready for construction. Patrick Saitta, Municipal Building Consultants, Inc., 200 Sutton Street, North Andover, Massachusetts 01845 stated that the projected opening is September 2017. Alderman Anderson stated that he wants a timeline as to when the Winn Street culvert will be cleaned. Mayor Galvin stated that three weeks would be required for a response to a bid request to clean the culvert with the cleaning completed in six weeks, that the stormwater maintenance, maintenance of open space and the agricultural use are necessary issues. Alderman DiNisco stated that this presentation is fairly far along from a typical time table however the more work done at this stage will put the city in a better position to answer further questions, and that stormwater management is a local process although ultimately overseen by the Department of Environmental Protection. Alderman Anderson stated that he wants to be certain that the school project and the open space and farmer’s market areas are clearly delineated. Mayor Galvin stated that the area is delineated on the map provided, and that the farm stand will remain under the jurisdiction of the Agricultural Commission. Mr. DiNisco stated that three are four kindergarten classes because the children are younger, that a security consultant is part of the project team to deal with student safety issues, that there are two access points in the school, that one access point is at the main entrance and
the other access point is where the children go outside for recess, and that limited access points minimize the chance of the doors being inadvertently left open. Mr. DiNisco offered a scorecard of the sites for review by the City Council. Motion made and 2nd that the document be received and made part of the record, all in favor, 9-0. Mr. DiNisco stated that all four sites went through a scorecard process, that the scorecard documented criteria specific to the sites, that among the categories was the location, accessibility, parcel size, wetlands and floodplains, development requirements, availability including ownership, and phased construction, that these facts were scored for each site, and that availability was the big difference between the Hurld School site and the Spence Farm site because of the necessary phased construction at the current Hurld School site. Mayor Galvin stated that the issue about eminent domain with respect to the Mormon Church property was discussed in Executive Session with the City Council, that a challenge to the eminent domain process would set the city back with the MSBA, that the owners of the Mormon Church property were interested in a land swap particularly with respect to the Hurld School site, that attempting to obtain the Mormon Church property did not fit into the city’s timeline, that it is not accurate to state that the owners of the Mormon Church property would take the Hurld School site in swap, that there was a potential of Woburn falling off the MSBA list, and that the water must be managed on the site. Alderman Concannon stated that if the water problems are resolved this will provide relief to the neighbors who are losing open space. Alderman Mercer-Bruen stated that the plan clearly delineates what lands will remain for agricultural use, and that if the areas are not maintained for open space then she will not support the project. Mayor Galvin stated that the portable classrooms would not be needed if the Clapp School was used as a swing space, that the project would be an interior renovation, that his earlier estimate of $500,000.00 to $700,000.00 to use the Clapp School as a swing space may have been too high. Alderman Gately stated that he is in favor of building a new school, that he is concerned about the drainage issues in the area, that Lowell Street will have to be widened as it is too narrow, that a drainage system will have to be installed in Lowell Street, that there are a number of issues that have to be addressed in addition to the Winn Street drainage, and that the Hurld School site will have to be converted to recreational and open space. Mayor Galvin stated that he supports a recreational and open space use at the current Hurld School site, that when the shovel goes in the ground at the new school site the School Committee will convey the Clapp School site to the city and the Clapp School can then be razed, that there is $500,000.00 in an account to raze the Clapp School building, and that he could have closed that account at the end of the fiscal year but he has not done so for four years. Alderman Gately stated that promises were made to raze the Clapp School building and this will be done. Mayor Galvin stated that the razing of the Clapp School building should not be tied to this project, and that the Clapp School will not be razed until the project funding agreement is executed. Alderman DiTucci stated that her first choice for the new school was the Mormon Church property, that the Spence Farm site is her second choice, that she will support the project is the promises are kept, that promises were made with respect to the Clapp School which were never kept, that going forward a special act of the legislature may be needed to ensure that Hurld School building is razed as promised unlike what has transpired at the Clapp School, that there needs to be a commitment for drainage improvements in the area, and that the Clapp School site is part of her decision with respect to this project. School Committee Member Crowley stated that this is a unique opportunity to build a school where there is an existing farm, that children will benefit from this proximity, and that she fully supports the site. Mr. DiNisco stated that as to building security there will be cameras, lock down procedures, and identifications will be checked to be certain the persons in the building are supposed to be in the building, that if an individual is not CORI checked their admission to the building will be denied, and that there will be technology, training and hardware security. Mayor Galvin stated that the city solicitor has already prepared an Article 97 petition to the State legislature relative to the Hurld School site, and that he asks the City Council and the School Committee to endorse the Spence Farm site as the preferred alternative.
Motion made and 2nd to return to the regular order of business, all in favor, 9-0.
Motion made and 2nd for a recess, all in favor, 9-0.
During the recess, the City Council stepped down to the public gallery and the School Committee remained in session. The School Committee voted to endorse the Spence Farm property located at 41 Wyman Street as the preferred location for a new Hurld-Wyman Elementary School. The School Committee adjourned and stepped down to the public gallery. The City Council returned to their seats in the Council Chamber.
President Haggerty called the meeting back to order.
Motion made and 2nd that the Spence Farm property located at 41 Wyman Street, Woburn be endorsed as the preferred location for the construction of a proposed Hurld-Wyman Elementary School as shown on a plan entitled “Wyman-Hurld Elementary School, Woburn, MA, Feasibility Study, 41 Wyman Street, Proposed Site Plan” dated September 22, 2014 and prepared by DiNisco Design Partnership Limited, all in favor, 9-0.
Motion made and 2nd to ADJOURN, all in favor, 9-0. Meeting adjourned at 8:41 p.m.
A TRUE RECORD ATTEST:
William C. Campbell
City Clerk and Clerk of the City Council