(l to r) Deputy Mayor for Education De’Shawn Wright, Councilmember Jim Graham, Ahnna Smith (from Deputy Mayor for Education's office), and Mel Butler (of DGS)
Yesterday at 4 p.m. there was a substantial meeting between community members, parents, teachers, and city representatives to follow up from the earlier May 2011 meeting on both the immediate needs and planned modernization of the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View School. Among the city representatives present were the Deputy Mayor for Education De’Shawn Wright, Councilmember Jim Graham, Ahnna Smith (from Deputy Mayor for Education’s office), and Mel Butler and Darrell Pressley from the Department of General Services (DGS).
In reviewing outstanding issues from the May meeting, the chief concerns continued to be the health of students and faculty and the state of the cafeteria.
Regarding the health issues, the chief concern seems to be air quality, especially with an increase in asthma and possible mold conditions. Ahnna Smith reported that the air quality had been tested in June and the results did not indicate that there was anything to be overly concerned about … yet followed that this does not mean that there isn’t room for improvement. To this, Ms. Jaffe — one of the teachers — requested that the air be tested again now that the building is closed up for the winter. It was agreed that this made sense and would be done.
Mr. Acosta, another of the teachers, stated that appropriate facilities are still needed for the storage of dry goods, pots & pans, and utensils in the cafeteria. While shelving has been installed and Tupperware tubs secured for some utensils, there is still work to do on this item.
Parents, teachers, and community members at the SIT meeting
Moving on to immediate concerns, the condition of the roof and water damage sustained from leaking bathrooms were identified as priorities. With regards to the roof, those assembled learned that it has already been identified by the Office of Public Education, Facilities Modernization, as a pressing need and may get done this winter in advance of the Phase I modernization. Mel Butler stated that a complete assessment of the roof is due to be completed soon and its findings will suggest if the roof merely needs to be stabilized & repaired or completely replaced. In either case, Butler expects a contract to stabilize the roof to be issued this year.
Members of the school community also identified the desire to unite the school property with the neighboring recreation center. To this point, I furthered that this could require the closing of Otis Place which would need to be studied. Additionally, I suggested that management of the Park View recreation center could possibly be relocated to Raymond Recreation Center since the rec center does not have a robust recreation program in operation.
Moving forward on the phased modernization, things are about to start moving quickly. The School Improvement Team (SIT) should “officially” begin meeting in December — even though there have already been several SIT meetings among the school community thus far. The Bruce-Monroe SIT team is headed by Kelley Padilla and the chief contact from DGS is Darrell Pressley.
Lastly, the architect/engineering team has already been identified for the project. While I did not learn who the engineer will be, the selected architect is SORG. This group will create a complete set of plans for the entire modernization, and those plans will be used in all three phases of the project. Currently, the project is scheduled to begin in spring 2012 and end in 2018.