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School Committee Hears Results of School Utilization Study

Claypit Hill seems to be the most adequately used of Wayland's elementary schools.

Wayland School Committee members Monday night heard a report detailing the findings of an elementary school utilization study conducted, in part, to determine the future of modular classrooms that were once part of the now-razed Wayland High School.

Bob Jefferies, a representative with TBA Architects, the firm hired to conduct the studies, said that in general, Claypit Hill is well-utilized, the Loker School is underutlized and Happy Hollow is overutilized.

The assessment looked at how the various areas of the schools are used in terms of both time and space. The benchmark for determining under or overutilization was the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s guidelines for new construction projects.

Jefferies said that none of the Wayland schools analyzed are required to meet new construction standards because they were all built many years before these current standards were in place. He explained that using the strict new construction standards provided a starting point and freed his firm from determining whether schools were working well with what they have regardless of the standards.

The report revealed that the vast majority of seems to be adequately used, both in terms of time and space. The modular classrooms on the site are overutilized, meaning they are smaller in square footage than the standards recommend for their purpose.

When it comes to , Justin Humphreys, another TBA Architects representative in attendance, said the classrooms seem to be in good shape.

“The classrooms seem to be adequately utilized, with the exception of what were the kindergarten rooms, which are too big,” Humphreys said.

Those kindergarten classes are well larger than a grade one through five classroom needs to be. In fact, Jefferies said four Happy Hollow classrooms that are currently underutilized in terms of space could likely be reconfigured to form a fifth classroom.

At both Happy Hollow and Claypit, the core specialties areas – which include the cafeteria, gymnasium, and art and music rooms, for instance, are largely overutilized. The space of the Happy Hollow cafeteria doesn’t meet code requirements in terms of size and is used, as is the Claypit Hill cafeteria, for five lunch seatings a day, well over the standard recommendation of two seatings.

Jefferies was quick to point out, however, that his firm was not tasked with determining whether five lunch seatings a day worked – only how it compared to state standards.

Humphreys said Happy Hollow is a “little bit interesting,” in that “There are constantly things in the hallways.”

“They have carved actual rooms and spaces out of the hallways,” Humphreys said, pointing in particular to a technology area in a hallway outside the library.

When it comes to the , several of the classrooms are overutilized in terms of space simply because they were not designed to be kindergarten classrooms and are, therefore, smaller than the state standard. The partial-day kindergarten rooms are underutilized in terms of time and overutilized in terms of space.

Humphreys pointed out that Loker was laid out with the expectation of it being partially kindergarten space and partially used for other district purposes.

“If there’s empty space in any school, somebody will find it and somebody will use it,” Humphreys said. Still, Loker now features “A good deal of underutilized area.”

With the report offered by TBA Artchitects, School Committee members determined that reusing the old modulars at another school in the district is not an appropriate course of action at this time.

Adding modulars to Happy Hollow, where they are most needed, would require the entire school to be retrofitted with a sprinkler system, which could cost $350,000, Jefferies estimated.

With that in mind, the School Committee voted unanimously to instruct the High School Building Committee to demolish the modulars.

Richard P Turner March 01, 2012 at 03:36 PM
What a waste of Money those could be sold and recoup the funds that the Taxpayers paid for them 6 years ago there are schools in the western part of the state that could use after the tornados damage many buildings it seems to bad to demolish something can be used what about the landfill for offices save on trailer rental

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