September 24, 2008

One commissioner opposes Scalia site

Weiner said at the time the plan was created eight years ago, there was no consideration that new schools would be needed.
Weiner said that planners “would have been glad to have been involved” in choosing potential sites, but was never asked.
Streifer said it’s been a decade since the issue came up.
McDermott said the existing structures “probably couldn’t meet current standards” even eight years ago.
Board of Education member Tom O’Brien, who is spearheading the project, said “this is consistent with the plan of development” because it seeks to replace “aging, inefficient schools.””We have no alternatives except to build new schools,” O’Brien said.
He said that it is “the only possible solution” because the older schools have small sites and can’t be renovated while students remain in class.
If transportation and busing is an issue, O’Brien said, should realize few walk to school today. More than 80 percent of Bingham, Memorial Boulevard and Greene-Hills students are bused. The rest are mostly dropped off by parents.
“A very small percentage of students walk” to those schools, O’Brien said.
At O’Connell, he said, more walk, but there are safety and traffic issues there.
Ewings said he would like to know the costs of improvements at the Scalia site compared to other possible sites, including the one on Divinity Street.
O’Brien said it would be unrealistic to do cost assessments of all 12 potential sites. Until a specific site is chosen, O’Brien said, “we were in no position to spend any additional funds.”
O’Brien said he “loved” the Divinity Street, “but it doesn’t matter.”
Soares asked about remediation on the Crowley site.
Streifer said the proposed deal with Crowley is that he will deliver “a fully demolished and clean site” and that payment wouldn’t be made until it was done.
“We’re comfortable that we’ll get a clean site,” Streifer said.
Streifer said an additional sum to take care of demolition and full site cleanup would be included in the deal.
Marie Keeton, a planning commissioner, said he has “some issues” with the Scalia site. She is “really concerned” about the surrounding infrastructure.
“I’d have to not be in favor of this at all,” Keeton said.
“I drove up those roads all day the other day,” she said, and doesn’t believe it can be fixed.
“It will be a tremendous mess,” Keeton said, if that site is used.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
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