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Space Task Force to Send Back Bids…August 19, 2015

By Ann Needle  
Members of the Nashoba Regional High School Space Task Force began detailing its next steps for the 2015/16 school year last night. Its first move was to reject several bids from firms offering to do a thorough study of demographic trends in the district over the next 15 years.

Nashoba issued a Request for Services last month, calling for candidates that could carefully estimate a projection of how many students the district should be planning space and resources for at NRHS. Some of the estimates Nashoba traditionally relied on in the past projected the number of students at NRHS would be significantly less than it is today. Therefore, the Task Force agreed to to seek another opinion on these numbers for the future before calling on Nashoba to spend money on expanding its crowded high school.

Together with Nashoba Superintendent Michael Wood and Director of Facilities Bill Cleary, the Task Force’s Bob Czekanski reported that on Monday he reviewed the only two bids received. One came in at $24,800 and the other at $53,347, with both vendors pledging to finish the job in 5 to 6 months.

He explained that potential bidders were asked if they could base their studies on factors that included analysis of current and historical building permit trends, the number of district students not attending NRHS, and historical student per household data. These factors were not taken into consideration with the previous projections that the district viewed as missing the mark.

However, several potential vendors responded that some of these factors were irrelevant, and therefore they were not bidding.

Given the large gap in prices on the two bids, the Task Force voted to reject these proposals, and to form a subcommittee to write a new Request for Services. (The Task Force’s Maureen Busch abstained from voting.)

Some of the potential vendors did offer remarks regarding why they did not bid. The Task Force agreed to question these vendors further on their reasons. It will also go back to the two current bidders with questions. The Task Force should then be ready to form a new RFS “that’s narrower in scope,” Czekanski said.

Before the vote to re-bid, Czekanski cautioned that issuing a new RFS would likely jeopardize the target of getting a statement of intent to the state in January 2016. But the Task Force agreed with Czekanski that the results of any demographic study likely will not greatly influence the Task Force’s initial recommendations, and there should be plenty of other information for an SOI to go to the MA School Building Authority in January.

What Type of School
In looking at other priorities for the year, Czekanski asked if the School Committee had discussed the question of what type of school NRHS is — classical, comprehensive, or vocational —which would help determine the types of classrooms an expanded high school should accommodate.

SC Rep. Lynn Colletti of Stow responded that the SC felt the better question would be what type of classes are wanted, rather than labeling NRHS as one type of school or another.

Michael Wood suggested the Task Force look ahead and determine what space is missing to deliver the classes they want in at least the next 5 years. Wood said he will work with NRHS Principal Dr. Parry Graham in starting this task.