WILMINGTON — On Tuesday night, the Wildwood School Building Committee invited members of the community to attend their in-person public meeting at the Wildwood Street School. Ahead of the meeting, they allowed time for residents to tour the school in order to get a better sense of its current state.
The Wildwood School Building Committee is made up of representatives from the town departments and town elected boards. Part of their purpose is to coordinate with the Massachusetts School Building Authority to facilitate the process for a new Wildwood School since Wilmington was accepted into the program with a condition of consolidation of schools.
Superintendent Dr. Glenn Brand presented two recent MSBA deliverables that night. He also mentioned that all of the information associated with the committee — meeting minutes, deliverables, and anything else — was available on the tab of the Wilmington Public Schools website entitled “Wildwood Building Committee.”
Assistant Superintendent of Administration and Finance Paul Ruggiero explained that the enrollment information was produced by the MSBA using their formulas to project the next 10 years. This was based on historical enrollment information provided by the town.
Public Buildings Superintendent George Hooper said that the capital and maintenance planning documents outlined funds that would need to be allocated and a 5-year capital plan. When one of the committee members asked about the challenges of the current school, he named things like the age of the school, asbestos in the ceiling and floor tiles, the steam-generated heating system, and the outdated electrical system.
They then considered how they could bring presentations to the Finance Committee, the School Committee, and the Board of Selectmen. Town Manager Jeff Hull suggested presenting the merits of the feasibility study and the money needed for it to all three committees or during one of the scheduled Finance Committee budget meetings.
He added that they should specify why the money is needed at this time and what the town’s approval would enable them to do going forward.
Selectman Greg Bendel said that any opportunity to get on camera and talk about this process would be valuable.
“The selectmen, subject to the chair, would welcome a presentation,” he continued.
Selectman Kevin Caira added, from the audience, the importance of reminding the public about the reimbursement from the MSBA toward the building cost. Judy O’Connell, also present, proposed using a WCTV soundbite and sending communications through Elderly Services.
Brand thought of having school principals disseminate information to school families. School Committee member David Ragsdale reminded the committee members representing other committees to report back to their respective boards.
Then, Brand walked the committee through some marketing materials to be shared with the community. He detailed a full brochure broken down into four parts, and a smaller brochure with the information in smaller pieces. There were web and print versions available. The web versions had gone out to school families on Jan. 10. He said that the hard copies would be distributed to various locations like the library, the town hall, and the senior center.
The committee members suggested promoting the date, time, and location of the special Town Meeting, in addition to what the result of the feasibility study would be.
For their next meeting date, they expressed their intent to meet ahead of the potential Feb. 15 public hearing for the special Town Meeting on March 8. Hull clarified that the Finance Committee, per the town by-law, is required to hold a public hearing to review the particulars of the articles prepared before any Town Meeting or special Town Meeting. The Finance Committee would be voting on recommendations for the proposed articles, and those recommendations would be sent to the town clerk and then given to residents.
The committee agreed to try to meet again at the Wildwood School and also give residents another chance to see the school and attend the meeting at the same time. The next meeting date was not yet set.