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Plans for a new Zervas Elementary School — expanded by 50% — are accelerating, now queued ahead of Cabot.  Perhaps this is because the deliberate pace of the MSBA’s process for Cabot (which will be partially subsidized with MSBA funds) allows the swing space at Carr to be used for Zervas students during the Zervas project (which is not MSBA-funded) without delaying the Cabot project.

The consultants on the Zervas project have set up a public website with presentations of sample plans and the agendas and minutes of meetings of the Zervas School Building Committee/Design Review Committee.  ZSBC/DRC meetings are open to the public and allow public comment.  The next one (tomorrow night: June 26, 6PM at the Ed Center) will review the results of the feasibility study and consider a vote to move forward from the chosen preliminary concept plan to schematic design.

The Newton Highlands Neighborhood Area Council is conducting a survey to gather community input.  This week’s TAB has two op-ed columns on Zervas:

  • NHNAC member Steve Feinstein writes about the project and the NHNAC survey.  He says that early results of the survey show “dramatic differences between how the community and the city want to solve school overcrowding.”  He also notes that, with no MSBA funding, the Zervas project will cost Newton taxpayers more, on a per-student basis, than any other Newton school, including Newton North HS.
  • Six citizens with long-time dedication to transportation issues in Newton write (not online yet) about their concerns regarding traffic, children’s health, and safety.  They advocate for removing the planned on-site drop-off loop, waiting for the completion of a traffic study, incorporating a transportation plan with special attention to pedestrian safe routes, and analyzing alternatives that could reduce the number of vehicles around the school.

On Monday, the BoA Finance Committee approved funding to acquire three homes abutting Zervas on Beacon Street to expand the site.  In early September, the Aldermen will review and vote on the schematic design and cost estimates.  It looks like an interesting summer in Newton!

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