Archive for Thursday, July 28, 2005

Junior high plans change after bond issue approved

July 28, 2005


Plans to update Central Junior High don't match the proposals made by school officials when they sold a $63 million bond issue to the community.

The issue included $4 million in improvements at CJHS. Originally, the school was expected to receive six new classrooms and a new competition gym, all in a new addition for the building.

But the latest plans include a gymnasium, and one added classroom, with other classes carved out of renovated space.

"It's the best solution for what we have now," Principal Frank Harwood said.

A public forum on the plans is set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the school.

"We just need to have a reasonable explanation for what we're doing," school board member Sue Morgan said.

This architect's rendering shows a new addition to Central Junior High School, 1400 Mass.

This architect's rendering shows a new addition to Central Junior High School, 1400 Mass.

Some Lawrence residents are wary of the changing plans.

"If they're changing the process, maybe they need to look at the whole bond issue," said David Holroyd, who ran in the last school board election to oppose the bond issue, eventually dropping out of the race. "Maybe they're doing it all wrong."

Instead of building new space, planners are focusing on renovating existing space.

A new gymnasium on the northeast side of the building will have a new boys' locker room and public restrooms, allowing administrators to close off the rest of the school during after-hours events.

The new locker room and restrooms cost money that could be used for additional classroom space, said Tom Bracciano, the district's operations and facility planning director.

Other changes include converting the historic Duver Gym - originally planned to be a back-up gym after construction - into classroom space.

"We think we've found something that will work," Bracciano said.

The district has tweaked other bond project plans, and that's common in the planning process, Bracciano said.

At the new South Junior High, for example, planners originally expected a new school would be one story. The latest plan has two stories.

"I think it's important to have that little bit of flexibility in there," Bracciano said.

The project is expected to begin in the spring and be completed by fall 2007.


Richard Heckler 12 years, 9 months ago

So long as we the voters get six new classrooms there should not be a problem.

Godot 12 years, 8 months ago

This is why I opposed the bond issue. They were just pulling a number out of the sky, did not have plans in place, had not thought it through. It is time for a change in school administration.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 8 months ago

When did someone decide to make these changes and by what authority? Is this how Bracciano would have had the city commission operate? I supported the bond issue and I must say this is not good business practice. What might the cost over runs look like...must keep an open eye.

Going from a one story building which now becomes a two story building? How did someone not know that as that is rather extraordinary??

Steve Jacob 12 years, 8 months ago

Good thing about a bond from a sales tax increase is they can't spend one penny more then was approved by voters.

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