Amherst Regional Middle School, currently holding 7 & 8 grades
The Joint Capital Planning Committee -- made up of members from Town, Schools, Library, and Finance Committee -- unanimously recommended approval of Article 9, to spend $150,000 to carve out a spot (4,000 sq ft) at the Regional Middle School for the town's Leisure Services & Supplemental Education, aka Recreation Department.
They also unanimously supported Article 8 which would "repurpose" the $150K from money already approved by Town Meeting to rehab the East Street School. In 2014 $700,000 was appropriated to renovate the former school so LSSE could relocate there, but bids came in much too high -- mainly for ADA improvements.
JCPC: Schools, Library, Select Board, Finance Committee
That renovation plan, after completing roof work, has been put on hold with about $565,000 remaining.
East Street School: Expensive White Elephant?
The Amherst Regional Public Schools are considering merging Middle School students (grades 6-8) into the High School thus freeing up the building for other activities. Greenfield Community College has expressed an interest in using it as a satellite school.
LSSE currently uses the Bangs Community Center as their home base but that spot is being taken by Community Health Center a satellite operation of the Hilltown Community Health Center. The program will bring medical and dental services to those without health insurance.
JCPC also unanimously supported spending $26,000 for electronic voting hand sets to bring antiquated Town Meeting into the 21st century. Finance Director Sandy Pooler confirmed town officials had set aside $27,000 in monies from the previous Fiscal Year.
Town Meeting, which starts November 2, is the final authority on all spending but they usually follow the advice of JCPC.
Mandi Jo Hanneke (right) from Town Meeting Electronic Voting Studey Committee pitches the JCPC on time saving and accountability attributes of newfangled voting devices. Later that night the Finance Committee also endorsed spending the $26K