The following email was received from Lowell Public Schools Dep. Supt. Jay Lang at 2:49pm this afternoon, with cc: Supt. of Schools Jean Franco, Kristen Ross-Sitcawich of the Lowell School Committee and Lowell Mayor Rodney Elliott. This email is in response to my Open Letter to the Lowell School Committee issued on Fri., March 21.
The Lowell School Committee voted at their regular meeting on March 19th to submit statement of interest applications to the MSBA for five (5) projects, which resulted from the comprehensive facilities assessment conducted by OMR Architects. All (5) five of these projects align with the draft report’s recommendations presented by OMR Architects to the facilities working group that has guided this process as well as the Facilities Subcommittee of the Lowell School Committee that has been very involved since the beginning of the work last May (2013). The five SOI’s provide an opportunity for the City of Lowell to “flag” issues with our current K-12 school facilities to the MSBA to start a discussion with MSBA staff pertaining to the possibility of leveraging state resources to assist the City of Lowell in funding additions/renovations involving these five schools in the coming years.
As was discussed at the Facilities Subcommittee meetings, the first step in the process was to complete the draft comprehensive facilities assessment to help shape and inform an overall 10-year capital plan for the Lowell Public Schools (LPS). The draft report is complete and has been posted to the LPS website for interested parties to review. The next step in the process is to submit SOI’s to the MSBA by the April 11, 2014 deadline for consideration. This will inform the MSBA that the City has identified projects that meet their guidelines and the City would like to work with the MSBA to examine the feasibility of each of the projects for potential funding. Specifically regarding the high school project as referenced in your e-mail, even thought the Lowell School Committee has incorporated into the draft comprehensive facilities assessment the renovation and expansion of Lowell High School on its present site downtown as its preferred solution, the MSBA will require the City of Lowell to begin the process all over again once the Lowell High School project is invited to participate in an MSBA feasibility study. We will need to form new working groups, with MSBA participation, to review the prior work of OMR Architects and community input will be vital to the process at that time. This will take place over the next 3-9 months if the Lowell High School project is invited into the feasibility study.
The horse has left the barn and is walking out to the race track, however the race cannot begin unless the City of Lowell submits SOI’s to the MSBA by the April 11th deadline and the MSBA invites the City of Lowell to participate in a feasibility study for each of the five (5) projects as voted by the Lowell School Committee on March 19th. I want to assure you that significant public participation lies ahead and much discussion about each of the five (5) projects will occur. During the feasibility study each of the projects will be analyzed and studied at great length. This pertains to the middle school additions/renovations at the Daley, Robinson, Rogers and Wang, as well as the addition/renovation project at Lowell High School. Discussion on priorities and locations lies ahead. We are still at the very early stages of the process.
I hope this information is helpful.
Deputy Superintendent of Schools”