This just in from Sandra Guryan of the Newton Public Schools and Joshua Morse with the City of Newton…
We would like to clarify the purpose of the joint Cabot School Building Committee/Design Review Committee (CSBC/DRC) meeting on May 5. The sole goal of the meeting is to ask the CSBC to vote on whether or not the group wishes to have DiNisco reevaluate an older design. If a decision is made to do this, a new schematic would be presented to CSBC/DRC in approximately 4 weeks for a vote on which design to bring forward to the City Council for site plan approval.
The School Building Committee voted on April 5 to approve the design of the building leaving some room to move the gym a bit closer to Cabot St. The committee approved of the circulation plan where buses would pull off on Cabot St. and not enter a driveway in front of the school. The location of the gym as an almost separate part of the building overlooking the park was a source of concern expressed by a number of people during the course of many public meetings.
A few months ago the City Council approved funding to acquire the property at 23 Parkview Avenue. While the acquisition of that property greatly enhances options for site circulation, traffic flow, and student drop-off and pick-up, it also offered an opportunity to relook at previous site plans and building layouts. There was one layout among the many previously brought forward that was rejected principally because it was too close to 23 Parkview Ave. This design places the gym on the north side tucked into the building and leaves the old building façade largely untouched. This design accommodates the school program that the School Committee passed. School program is the first and foremost aspect of designing a new school that we must meet.
Whether or not we choose to reassess the site plan, the following is unchanged:
- The new Cabot School must meet the approved educational program.
- The portion of Parkview Avenue from the school to Cabot St. will be permanently closed.
- The students and staff of Cabot will move to the Carr School as planned in the fall of 2017 and will not spend longer in the old Cabot building than previously anticipated.
- School and City officials will make certain that we are not compromising our work with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) nor their commitment of funds to the Cabot project.
- The circulation plan advanced on April 5 would still be used.
The Cabot School is being designed to last 100 years, and as such we really want to make sure we are building the right school for the students, teachers, parents, and Cabot neighborhood.
We look forward to working with the City Council, the School Committee, the School Department, parents, and the community as we expeditiously work through this process to provide the best Cabot School for our children and our community.