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Daily Buzz | Fox Hill School Building Committee Reviews Options, Hears from Residents Ahead of Public Forum
Committee emphasizes no decisions have been made
Good Morning, Burlington!
The School Committee and School Building Committee held a joint meeting last night ahead of Thursday’s Community Forum.
A good deal of this 2.5-hour meeting was taken up with a preview of Thursday’s presentation, which was punctuated by questions, comments and reflections. There was also an opportunity for public comment, which several community members took advantage of. Here are some highlights:
The Pine Glen principal, John Lyons, was added to the committee, and he’ll bring two teachers and a parent to the next meeting, to mirror the Fox Hill representation on the committee.
A suggestion was made to change the name of the committee to better reflect the mission of the committee. It’s clear at this point that this plan will affect more than just Fox Hill. The issue will be revisited at the next meeting.
“Redistricting is inevitable,” said School Committee member Christine Monaco, referring to the fact that MSBA uses enrollment members and class sizes in the town at large when planning these projects.
Concern was also expressed that any of the options being considered would move more students to both Memorial and Francis Wyman, and that these conversations about “preserving the character of the school and community” (paraphrasing) really only consider a fraction of students.
There was discussion during public comment that mirrors conversation I’ve heard in the wild—that parents and families want to maintain a four-school model for two main reasons: Because it maintains the community feel and because traffic would be even more congested than it already is if the two schools were consolidated into one site.
One committee member countered that these feelings are based more on nostalgia than on data, and many committee members—including the project manager—urged the community to be patient as the feasibility study (for which Town Meeting allocated $1.5m last May) is completed.
Eight different main options are being investigated, as required by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA, the authority overseeing the process of rebuilding Fox Hill). Some are more feasible than others, and all will be explained at Thursday’s forum.
There is a vernal pool very close to Fox Hill, and there are wetlands nearby; Conservation Commission was assured these things will be considered as the planning is completed, and the final plan will be presented to Conservation.
Fox Hill’s current size is 64,000 square feet. A single Fox Hill new construction would be about 100,000 sqft, while a combined Fox Hill-Pine Glen would be 150,000. The building would likely be 3 stories high.
It was reinforced several times that, while Fox Hill and Pine Glen might relocate to both be on the same campus with shared facilities, it is totally possible for these schools to remain separate communities, each with its own smaller-school feel.
It was also reinforced several times that nothing has been decided. The feasibility study hasn’t even been completed yet. The decision timeline is more like late fall.
There’s more (Isn’t there always?), and I don’t often recommend this, but if you’re interested in this issue (and if you pay taxes, have family in the school system, or eventually will, you probably should be) you might go ahead and preview the presentation on Facebook (the slides start about 30 minutes in and go for 2 hours). that way you can hear the questions, concerns, and responses that have already been posed so the time on Thursday can be used most effectively.
In partnership with People Helping People
The People Helping People Burlington Food Pantry serves around 100 families each week. SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits were recently cut and many families are struggling with the rising cost of goods. As a result, enrollment in our local Food Pantry has increased significantly. Due to record Holiday food drives in November and December of 2022, we have an overabundance of canned goods. However, we are consistently low or out of a number of other foods and other necessities. That’s why we’re calling this food drive the “ABC” Food Drive. Anything But Cans! Please help us stock our shelves for the summer months!
Today in Burlington
Meetings and Events
10:30 and 11:30 AM - Toddler and Preschool Story Time at the library
6:30 PM - Zoning Bylaw Review Committee will hear an update from the Economic Development Office about the Mall Road 128 Rezoning Initiative; they’ll also discuss future potential warrant articles for signage and housing bylaws, as well as the publication of legal notices in electronic (not just paper) publications. (virtual)
7:00 PM - Historical Commission will be discussing their Father’s Day exhibit and the 225th anniversary celebration in Burlington. Opening dates for the summer are one Saturday per month: June 10, July 8, August 12. (Grand View Farm)
Sports and Activities
Burlington brought home wins in softball (4-2) yesterday, as well as boys’ (5-0) and girls’ (3-2) tennis. Our baseball team fell 10-7 against Wakefield, however.
We are nearing the end of the spring sports season, but the calendar remains full most days. Here’s what’s on tap for today:
Track meet at 3:30
Tennis at 4:00; boys travel and girls play here
Volleyball against Lexington; JV plays at 4:15 and varsity plays at 5:30
Lacrosse against Wakefield; boys travel (game at 6:00) and girls play here [games at 4:15 (JV) and 5:45 (varsity)]
Enjoy your Wednesday, Burlington. See you tomorrow!