Editor’s note, January 25, 2022
The original edition of this article contained information about a walkthrough of school buildings scheduled for January 29. The walkthrough was canceled due to some forecast models predicting heavy snowfall on that day. The article has been revised accordingly.
The Town’s Facility Optimization Committee has been working for two years — interrupted by Covid-19 for nearly half that time — to take a comprehensive, long-term look at what needs to be done to improve Town and school buildings, make the most of public assets, and intelligently position Weston for the future.Last November, the committee held its first community conversation, aided by a consultant, to bring the public up to date on progress so far, the process going forward, and to provide a very high level view of the condition, capacity, and utilization of three Weston school buildings. (Attention to Weston High School comes later.)
Eventually, the view will extend into buildings used and needed by the Town, but focus at the moment is entirely on the school campus, by far the largest and most complex piece of the puzzle.
The next community conversation is scheduled for March 2. According to the timeline presented in November, the committee is months away from offering recommendations. Currently, members and the consultants are still in discovery mode.
The plan for March is to present a range of options for school configurations, the advantages and disadvantages of each one, and the potential costs.
“There is a price tag to these things”
That last item — the costs — will be challenging enough on its own to complete in five weeks while still developing options. But members agreed in their January 19 meeting that it would be fruitless to present options without, at minimum, ballpark estimates.
“When we talk to the public,” said committee chair Rick Bertasi, “we need to tell them there is a price tag to these things.”
Options for the schools will certainly include retaining a four-school campus and figuring out what it would take to bring the buildings up to date, correct known deficiencies, and renovate for the future.
Options are bound to also include a variety of approaches to going with three schools. Each alternative will carry its own complexities, educational pluses and minuses, and financial implications.
November 12, 2021: About the Schools: Condition, Capacity, and Use