School Committee: Better Planning Needed to Avoid Construction During School Year in Watertown
Parts of the Hosmer School are a construction zone these days, something that Watertown School Committee members want to avoid that in the future.
Parts of the preschool area at the Hosmer School have become a construction zone, a condition that School Committee members said they want to avoid in future years by planning father in advance.
The school needs to add an additional preschool classroom for the integrated preschool program, which serves students with special needs, said Superintendent Jean Fitzgerald.
"We got into a situation where we ran out of space and were out of compliance with the state," Fitzgerald said. "We had to deal with it."
While the new classroom is being constructed, the preschool has been creative in finding ways to use the rest of the school, Fitzgerald said. Classes spend time in the school's small gymnasium as well as the library.
Workers showed up for the first time last week, said District Director of Business Services John Loughran. Construction should take six to eight weeks, he said.
School Committee Vice Chairman John Portz wondered why the work did not start until after school was in session.
"It would be nice to be able to do this over the summer, as we have done in the past," Portz said.
While school officials knew they had to add the classroom over the summer, Loghran said they could not start the process of hiring architects and contractors until after the start of the fiscal year on July 1.
"To get it done (before school started) we would have had to commit before we definitely had the money," Loughran said.
Fitzgerald said planning capital projects for next year, and beyond, will take place earlier.
"This should have been planned two or three years ago," Fitzgerald said.
School Committee member Michael Shepard suggested that school officials get involved with the Town Council's capital planning budget, which starts earlier than the general budget process.
"We need to plan for that if we are going to be part of the process," Shepard said.