ESBC Reviews Site Matrix, Hears from Librarians

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The Elementary School Building Committee met on Monday, December 22nd, at HCAM studios, for their last meeting of 2014. Of note on their agenda was the Site Alternative Task Group Report, and a Communications and Outreach Update featuring Hopkinton's library staff.

During the meeting, architectural firm DRA provided the board with a "Site Evaluation Criteria Matrix"; this spreadsheet laid out all of the different campus options for the different sites under consideration. There were a number of options presented, including six options for the Center School site, the option to add a building to the Elmwood campus, and several options for the Irvine and Todaro properties. Architect James Barrett stressed to the committee that while these plans may "look a lot like architecture", they are far from the stage of designing the buildings themselves; at this stage they are simply measuring what buildings can fit on what area of land. However, Chair Joe Markey did stress that now is the time for residents to pay attention to these options and what is available, because by the time Town Meeting comes in 2015, a site will already be chosen for the school. Center School Principal Lauren Dubeau said she was satisfied with the matrix, and recognized the need to wait for a site before fleshing out academic needs. Town Manager Norman Khumalo asked that the planners keep in mind town-specific low-impact development concerns.

The committee then moved to discuss community outreach going into the upcoming year. They first noted a change in venue for the upcoming public forum. The forum will still be held at 9:00 am on January 24th, but will be at the middle school library instead of the senior center. Rob Nickerson gave a report showing an increase in awareness of the ESBC and their mission, due in part to increased Facebook presence and advertising dollars in social media. At the close of the meeting, adult services librarian Heather Backman spoke on the library's efforts to help the ESBC gain exposure. There will be posters of the site alternatives displayed around the library. The ESBC will also hold a presentation at the library on January 14th to provide an update on the site alternatives and the ESBC's plans. Rob Nickerson was hopeful, postulating that such prominently displayed visuals will get people talking.

The next ESBC meeting at HCAM studios is scheduled for Tuesday, January 20th, at 6:30 p.m.
The next ESBC public workshop will be on Saturday, January 24th, from 9:00-10:30 a.m. at the HMS library.