Include the Community

I listened to the School Building Committee meeting on September 4th. My notes begin after the committee started talking among themselves. My notes may abbreviated, but accurate, and I encourage you to listen for yourself.


Linda Savastano asked is the $97 million was the all in number.

Answer is $97 million is if we did everything.

1: 10

Aimee Reiner said let’s be clear this does not include everything. Rob Zarnetske agreed.

Aimee Reiner also noted the people don’t understand what the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) is for. Says it’s for other projects. She says this doesn’t include a lot and we are already over our target.


Rob Zarnetske says this is not an all in number and we need to get to an all in number.

1:12 Zarnetske says (using quick math and still not including everything) 105 to 106 million. Also Bryant DaCruz agreed with Zarnetske saying at this point they are at $106 million not including the CIP.

1:14 Zarnetske says because the track field (cost $3M+) isn’t refundable then they could fundraise.

1:15 Finance Director Zack asked should we ask for the highest amount because we don’t need to use it all. RGB Tracy said yes.  (my opinion this is a bad idea)

1:16 RGB Tracy talks about the $85 million bond then we have $7 million in capital projects to get done in a 5 years period. And if the bond doesn’t pass we only need to do 50% of the 7 million.

1:19 RGB Tracy talks about the $7 million needed in repairs, like central heating systems, replace domestic water pipes don’t have to be done as part of the project. Aimee Renier says adding in this $7 million we are about 120 million and Rob agreed

1:23 Aimee Reiner said she needs clarification the CIP money is for maintenance and not upgrades. Rob Zarnetske says the work to be done is maintenance. Replacing heating systems are not maintenance.

1:24 Kate Macinanti said the SC said to see if it were possible to do the project for $85 million. Kate Macinanti said to do the project right we are looking at $105 mil and that’s probably low. She notes in this figure she doesn’t believe that can be done.

1:28 Bryant DaCruz says he wants to see all the numbers. Melissa Toole agreed with Bryant DaCruzwe don’t want to pay for a half done project over the next 20 years.

1:31 Melissa asked what were the cost per sq ft was. She recollected it being for new was $400./sq ft. and $150. /sq ft for renovations.  RGB Tracy said they are saying $150. /sq ft to $200.00 /sq ft for renovations. Melissa asked where are we in comparison. Tracy said to do the $30 million we are at $296./sq ft. If we are looking at the $18 million we are looking at $193. / sq ft.

1:36 Rob Zarnetske noted that the $18 million is just a guess and has not been cost estimated. RGB Tracy agreed.

1:37 Rob Zarnetske recognizes in it’s present form they can’t present the $18 million to the TC. Also Rob talks about having the information complete to present to the TC. Doesn’t mention getting the information to the residents

1:39 Rob Zarnetske expresses his concerns about the stage 2 application going forward

1:40 Kate Macinanti noted the SC also needs the information. Kate is requesting what we get for each amount – $85 million we get this, $97 million we get this, $106 million, we get this. Kate again says they were to explore if the project could be done for the $85 mil and what it would look like.

1:42 Aimee Renier expressing her disappointment in just seeing these numbers during this meeting for the first time. They were supposed to see them earlier.

1:44 Rob Zarnetske says bond rates are better now than a year or 2 ago. Could stretch the loan out longer to make it doable.

1:46 Rob Zarnetske agrees with Aimee they aren’t where they need to be at this point. Rob is nervous about the short time line.

1:47 DebKelso asked when will the edited stage 2 application be complete and when will they receive it. RGB Tracy said they should have the total application ready by the end of next week. There was more discussion by Linda Savastano and Deb Kelso asked again but no one answered her.

1:52 Kate Macinanti asking will the BC be providing information to the public.

1:55 Rob Zarnetske said if they don’t get to a solid understanding $85 million project really entails then he will not recommend going further to the Town Council.

1:56 Aimee Reiner respectfully disagrees with Rob who had said there was not time for the School Building Committee to meet again before September 14th. Reiner says the BC could meet before the 10th to go over the information. She feels they need to have the meeting.

2:02 Kate asked is the final number and revisions be done by the 10th or 14th.  Tracy said the 14th because they are looking for direction what amount they are putting in.

2:03 Rob is reiterating the community will have 0 days to review the application. Rob says he thinks we are in jeopardy in not hitting this deadline. Kate says if we miss this deadline would go for the February deadline. Rob said correct. Kate said she’d rather push the date out to not have a rush job and Rob agreed. Rob said if we wait until February they will still be able to hit the deadline to hit the bonus points. Tracy said they would have to have aggressive times. They could risk losing some of the bonus incentives. Plus there will be escalation costs also.

2:05 Deb Kelso say’s she is very anxious about the timeline. She said she can’t vote yes as it is now. Said she suggested a month of public comments and write ins.

2:09 Melissa said they hired an OPM to keep us on track and she feels they didn’t. She expresses her frustration because here is another possible deadline they will miss because they say well lets explore this and look at that. Her question is what’s the worse that can happen if they submit like this. Tracy notes if it’s pushed further out RGB and Perigrine will need to be paid more for doing more. Mellissa also wants to see a month of community input.

2:16 Deb Kelso said she is for the concept of the campus HS at Curtis Corner but she can’t recommend moving forward without a complete stage 2 application. She says delaying until February is valuable.

2:20 Kate questions their role was to find out can the Curtis Corner project be done for the 85 million. Kate notes that the project can work there for 105 million but she doesn’t know if that’s what the community wants. Kate said if they submit the stage 2 for this project we are committed to relocating the HS

2:22 Bryant feels like this is like the movie Ground Hog Day. Getting the 1000 or so pages a day before the submittal, submitting it then it gets denied. Rob also expressed his frustration but he feels it’s better this time than last. Rob says the public has had a chance to review documents.

2:24 Rob Zarnetske is concerned that the Town Council, School Committee and the public doesn’t have a completed document to review. Rob Zarnetske agreed if this stage 2 application is submitted we are committed to Curtis Corner and is permanent. He said if the plan is submitted then residents get a few months to go over it and if they decide they don’t like some or all of it then town are stuck with it.

2:28 Tracy said if the residents don’t like the plan then there isn’t enough time for RGB to redo plans for submission in February.

2:28 Aimee Reiner wants community feedback and awareness. Aimee Reiner is saying due to the pandemic people have other things on their minds. Financial and health. This project is second. Aimee Reiner uses the analogy of just because something is on sale doesn’t mean you need to buy it. She feels it’s too rushed and too expensive. She is extremely concerned with the outcome of this project.

2:33 Mellissa would like to see a pros and cons list for submitting. She wants community input also. Not sure if it should be before or after submission.

2:35 Tracy said the SC needs to provide directive. They are following what they wanted.   

2:36 Rob Zarnetske said an application needs to be submitted or we lose 3 to 5 million dollars from RIDE. The school has no plan and has had no active approved plan for about a year now. The only reason we could do Peace Dale Parking lot was because they allowed an extension. We are beyond our extensions. We have no plan.

2:39 Rob Zarnetske said we don’t have the option of doing nothing forever. Tracy said there are HVAC projects to bring up to standards. Projects could be done November timeframe and get reimbursement back

2:40 Kate asked do the CIP’s have to go together with the bond. She’s also reiterating their jobs was to see if it was viable for $85 million and it’s not viable for $85 million. She says it’s insane to rush this through and lock us into something.

2:42 RGB Tracy said 2 applications could be submitted, one being the CIP the other being the bond project. If the bond project isn’t approved we could still do the capital improvement. Tracy said just the addition could be done at Curtis corner for $45 million with no renovations. Kate has a problem getting thorough community input in such a tiny window.

2:43 Linda Savastano would rather see the addition and no renovations to get the HS to Curtis Corner rather than stay on Columbia St.

2:44 Rob Zarnetske said we could delay the stage 2. What needs to be done is have contracts in hand before 12/22.

Greg Sweet

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