June 2, 2021 Joint EDI/Facilities Meeting


Quincy School Committee

Joint Equity, Diversity & Inclusion and Facilities, Security & Transportation Subcommittees

Wednesday, June 2, 2021, 5:40 pm
School Committee Room, Coddington Building

Per Governor Baker’s order suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c. 30A sec. 20, the public will not be allowed to physically access this School Committee meeting. Members of the Public can access the meeting live on QATV Channel 22 or at www.qatv.org. The meeting will also be recorded for rebroadcast and posted on the QPS website on Friday, June 4, 2021.

Mr. Frank Santoro, Chair (both Subcommittees)
Mr. Doug Gutro, Mrs. Emily Lebo, Ms. Courtney Perdios, Subcommittee Members
This meeting is a Subcommittee of the Whole.

  1. Review of QPS/Public Buildings Projects - Commissioner Hines

  2. Proposal to Install Solar Arrays on QPS Buildings - Commissioner Hines

  3. Department of Natural Resources Update - Commissioner Murphy

  4. Grade 5 Feasibility Study - Mayor Koch, Superintendent Mulvey

  5. Review of QPS Security Cameras & Equipment - Superintendent Mulvey, Mr. Draicchio

  6. High School Curriculum Collaboration Update - Ms. Roy


Quincy School Committee

Joint Equity, Diversity & Inclusion and Facilities, Security & Transportation Subcommittee Meeting ~ Wednesday, June 2, 2021

A joint meeting of the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion and Facilities, Security & Transportation Subcommittees was held on Wednesday, June 2, 2021 at 5:40 pm in the School Committee Room of the Coddington Building. Present were Mayor Thomas P. Koch, Mr. Doug Gutro, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Mrs. Emily Lebo, Mrs. Courtney Perdios, and Mr. Frank Santoro, Subcommittees Chair (both). Also present were Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Assistant Superintendent Erin Perkins, Mr. Michael Draicchio, Ms. Madeline Roy; Public Buildings Commissioner Paul Hines; and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

Subcommittees Chair Frank Santoro took the agenda out of order, and began with the topic of the Grade 5 Feasibility Study. Superintendent Mulvey reviewed that the educational equity issues have been addressed to the extent possible. In terms of the requested feasibility study, this is a longer term project as it would require capital investment for construction. Superintendent Mulvey said that work on this item will continue over the summer and a subsequent report to be made in the fall.

Mayor Koch said that this is a complex issue and potentially affect the financials for the recently completed South~West Middle School as the Massachusetts School Building Authority project agreement calls for a Grades 5-8 program. The Public Buildings team will look at the options and provide cost estimates, work can continue over the summer and a more thorough response prepared to share with School Committee at a later date.

Mrs. Perdios asked for a projection on when the feasibility update will be available, she does not want this to be on the back burner. Mayor Koch said there are many projects underway in the City plate currently, but he takes this seriously. Mayor Koch said that School Committee may have to address redistricting which is a difficult and political issue.

Mrs. Perdios clarified that the Feasibility Study is not a plan, but presents the options and the costs and ramifications. Mrs. Perdios suggested an outside consultant be hired, using the surplus budget from FY2021. Mayor Koch agreed that this is a possibility. Mrs. Perdios said that this is a priority for the families of Point Webster and South~West, this is not a reflection of the Grade 5 programs provided at these schools.

Mrs. Hubley asked if funding a feasibility study would require additional funding from the City Council. Mayor Koch said that could be necessary. Mrs. Hubley asked if a feasibility study could be broader and include the use of space in all buildings, with the long-term goal of finding space for universal Pre-Kindergarten in the Quincy Public Schools.

Mayor Koch said it will be up to School Committee to determine the scope of the Feasibility study.

Mrs. Lebo said that the expansion of Advanced opportunity could cause the need for redistricting for middle schools. For example, an expanded APC program might have 140-150 students, so additional rooms would be needed at Central. Mrs. Lebo agrees with universal Pre-Kindergarten being a priority for School Committee.

Mrs. Perdios would like to keep Grade 5 separate and is concerned that there hasn’t been any progress in the last two months. Mrs. Perdios feels strongly that this is an inequity, with nine QPS elementary schools including Grade 5 students and two that don’t.

Mayor Koch disagrees that this is an inequity for Grade 5 students, all are being appropriately educated.

Mrs. Lebo said that Ms. Perkins gave a comprehensive review of the educational inequities that have been addressed at the March 29 Subcommittee meeting and agrees with including Pre-Kindergarten in the Feasibility Study as School Committee set this as a goal in Fall 2019.

The next item on the agenda was a review of Security Cameras inside and outside schools. Director of Transportation & Security Michael Draicchio provided a comprehensive review of all equipment, noting any repairs/replacements needed. The vast majority of the currently installed cameras are working properly and there is information included about proposed new locations for additional cameras and the cost estimate. Superintendent Mulvey and Mr. Draicchio will be meeting with Mayor Koch and Public Buildings Commissioner to review needed repairs and improvements can be addressed through the Capital Improvement Plan.

Mr. Gutro asked about vandalism concerns, many exterior cameras have been installed. Mr. Draicchio said that when possible, camera footage has been utilized for reviewing student and staff safety issues. Mr. Gutro asked for quantifying evidence that demonstrates that having the equipment a deterrence.

Mr. Santoro noted that the cameras are especially valuable at the high school level.

Mrs. Perdios thanked Mr. Draicchio for the comprehensive survey of equipment provided. Mrs. Perdios asked about the Quincy High School system, outside vendors are working on cost estimates.

Senior Curriculum Director Madeline Roy then reviewed the collaboration between Quincy Public Schools high school staff members and students about increasing contemporary and representative new literature for English Language Arts classes. In a typical year, the Vertical Teams would begin working in mid-year on realigning and updating the curriculum. This year, staff voluntarily began working on this issue last summer in response to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion issues raised by staff and students. At this time, 25 titles are being read and reviewed by the group with the goal of adding new titles for the 2021-2022 school year. All titles will follow the typical novel review process and a list of titles under consideration is available for the School Committee to review.

Mrs. Hubley asked if some of the titles will be added to the Summer Reading list and Ms. Roy confirmed this is also being considered. Ms. Roy emphasized that introducing many of these titles in class is important because of the opportunity for teacher support and noted that the Thomas Crane Library has been a good resource for this initiative.

Mrs. Lebo asked if the titles will be implemented in September. Ms. Roy said that two grades will be initially rolled out in September and the other two grades would be implemented during the year.

Mr. Santoro said that over the course of the year, there have been multiple communications from outside expressing concerns about the process. Ms. Roy said the five students representing the North Quincy High School Solidarity group have been respectful but somewhat frustrated by the pace of updating the curriculum. Mr. Santoro asked about pressure from a School Committee member, Mrs. Lebo said that she wanted to move this project forward and asked for the two high schools to collaborate together.

Mr. Santoro said the end result is very good, but it concerned about the process. Mr. Santoro objects that the meeting was held without the remainder of School Committee knowing about it.

Mrs. Perdios asked if the students can be invited to School Committee so they can be thanked for their initiative in bringing this issue forward.

After a brief recess, Public Buildings Commissioner Paul Hines presented an update on ongoing projects, including the School Water Improvement Grant that has funded the installation of filtered water bottle refill stations at all Quincy Public Schools. The first batch of units were installed near the cafeterias and gymnasiums where they would be utilized more frequently. As a result of the robust water testing program conducted in 2016-17, replacement of water lines and fixtures is ongoing to address higher lead and copper levels in water fountains and hand washing sinks. The goal is for all fixtures to be below 5 ppb, well below the state and federal standards. Immediate needs have been addressed at all buildings and Bernazzani and Lincoln Hancock have been completely redone with new pipes and faucets and water service from the street.

For the DeCristofaro Learning Center, the design documents are 90% completed. The documents should be ready for bid this summer and the construction to begin in the fall. The goal would be for the building to be completed by June 2023.

Steam trap repairs will be completed at 6 schools, 50% funded by National Grid. There are extensive renovations underway for the Broad Meadows Middle School, addressed HVAC issues and utility room move to be above sea level. The auditorium is being fully redesigned and will be completed this summer, along with the locker rooms.

There is a significant delay in materials availability and costs, so Commissioner Hines is not planning any large renovation projects this summer. Public Buildings will be looking to deferred maintenance rather than the flooring, asbestos replacement, and other construction projects that went on last years while the schools were closed. HVAC projects were completed at all school systems.

Atherton Hough’s student bathrooms have been renovated, with tiling still to be completed this summer along with installation of ceilings. Beechwood Knoll will have the gymnasium lighting upgraded if the fixtures are available. Bernazzani had extensive asbestos abatement and tile replacement. The Della Chiesa ECC HVAC system design is completed. Due to material shortages, this will be replaced in Summer 2022. At Lincoln Hancock, the 2nd floor air handler had been removed, has now been replaced. The gym and pool locker rooms are almost completed, waiting for partitions to be delivered. At Montclair, there was extensive asbestos remediation and reclaimed space for classrooms. There are designs completed for the basement level bathrooms to be renovated. At Merrymount, the elevator was completely renovated. At Parker, the renovation of the media center will be included in the new CIP. At Snug Harbor and Montclair, masonry repairs are designed and a grant has been received to install a handicap accessible ramp at Snug Harbor this summer. At the Wollaston School, all of the pipes have been replaced and five water fill stations installed. Designs are finalized for renovating the student bathrooms on the 1st and 2nd floors, waiting for availability of materials. At Point Webster, all of the light fixtures have been replaced along with the cooling tower. The lockers have been replaced, the HVAC system has been retro-commissioned. The Point Webster carpet replacement will not take place due to materials issues. At South~West, there are punch list items including the smart glass for classrooms which had failed. North Quincy High School has continuing work to replace carpet, tiles, ceiling, and lighting. A long-term project is to move the administrative offices to the 1st floor and renovation of the front entrance, design is underway. Many of the projects have been designed and the funding to complete the projects will be requested in the new CIP. A number of the issues on the SIPs lists involve paving, under the Capital Improvement Plan, Public Buildings is working on the master list throughout the city, but will not be able to address major issues this summer due to materials issues.

Mrs. Perdios asked about Clifford Marshall, Mr. Hines said the HVAC system has been retro-recommissioned and addressed the ceiling tile issues. Through the Community Preservation grant, an outdoor classroom was installed and there are subsequently requests for additional outside lighting that will be replaced. The water testing was good at Clifford Marshall so no major plumbing requirement. New water fill stations have been installed. The additional entrance request will not be completed as it would have to be ADA compliant and cost prohibitive. The existing Broad Meadows stage curtains may be able to be repurposed for Clifford Marshall.

Mrs. Perdios asked about the Point Webster grounds, Mayor Koch said the City is working on funding sources and preliminary site evaluation is underway by Woodward & Curran.

Mrs. Perdios asked how maintenance issues are reported to Public Buildings. Commissioner Hines reviewed that principals and senior custodians send an email to the Maintenance Help Desk and larger scale projects are surfaced through the School Improvement Plans. Mr. Hines said that the School Improvement Plan requests are used to inform the Capital Improvement Plan development.

Mrs. Perdios asked about having schedule projections available for the principals to reference. Mr. Hines said it would be complex to create and maintain, priorities are shifted to deal with issues as they arise, for example the flood at Broad Meadows.

Mrs. Hubley asked about installing an elevator at Snug Harbor at a later date. Commissioner Hines said the design is completed, but it is 9-10 months to get an elevator car to install. This project will be included in the CIP for 2022 with the hope that the manufacturing timeline will revert to previous levels.

Mr. Gutro thanked Mr. Hines for the amazing work by the department, Mr. Hines said that Dave Scott and his staff were supplemented by outside contractors and inspected and documented maintenance and operations for every HVAC unit in all QPS buildings.

Mr. Gutro asked about the air quality issue in the Wollaston basement issue, mechanical ventilation has been installed along with a heat exchange system. There were recent concerns about the humidity level, a building check was implemented for the long weekend and a new self-pumping system will be installed. There is no evidence of mold and the new improvements will hopefully address any lingering issues.

Commissioner Hines said that Mr. Gutro asked about the timeline for the Broad Meadows auditorium. Commissioner Hines said the demolition is completed, asbestos abatement as well. Mr. Hines said he expects it to be completed by the end of the calendar year, depending on materials availability.

Mayor Koch said that the Quincy Public Schools was so far ahead of other school districts on air quality and ventilation issues due to the talent of the Public Buildings department staff. Commissioner Hines has been dedicated, first responding to the storms and then to the needs around COVID-19. Mayor Koch is very proud of the collaboration between city departments.

Mrs. Lebo said that when the Maintenance was part of the schools budget, there was much deferred maintenance and difficult choices. Mrs. Lebo asked about the NQHS Auditorium donation, Commissioner Hines said Mr. Shaw is continuing to work with the alumni to secure the donation.

Superintendent Mulvey thanked Commissioner Hines, he is grateful for the work of the Public Buildings staff as the biggest obstacle for other school districts seems to be the HVAC and building maintenance issues. Public Buildings was an integral part of the success of this school year, their work provided safe environment for our students and staff and avoided labor disputes.

Mr. Santoro said this is such an impressive list of projects completed, thanks to the leadership of Mayor Koch and Commissioner Hines.

The last item on the agenda was a review of proposed solar arrays to be installed on school buildings, an RFP to be created for the roofs of South~West Middle School, Beechwood Knoll (not including the pyramids), Merrymount, Montclair (partial, depending on roof replacement on the older sections), Atherton Hough, Point Webster (depending on roof replacement), and solar carports for the QHS and Clifford Marshall parking lots. Commissioner Hines asked School Committee to approve the installation in concept.

Mr. Gutro made a motion to support exploration of solar arrays on Quincy Public Schools properties as presented by Commissioner Hines. Mrs. Lebo seconded the motion.

Mrs. Perdios made a friendly amendment that for Clifford Marshall, the solar canopy would be on the lower parking only. Mr. Gutro seconded the motion.

Mr. Gutro made a motion to solicit input from the school principals and PTOs about the solar carports at Quincy High School and Clifford Marshall, seconded by Mrs. Perdios.

Mrs. Lebo would like to see more detail about the solar carports before we move ahead. Commissioner Hines will request renderings to be shared with School Committee.

Mayor Koch said the Archdiocese of Boston has installed a solar canopy on their administrative building parking lot in Braintree. Mayor Koch is concerned about the impact of these parking lot canopies for snow removal.

Mr. Hines said that the Quincy High School parking lot may not be possible because of the proximity to marshland.

On a roll call vote of the three Facilities, Transportation & Security Team members, the ayes have it, 3-0.

Mrs. Perdios made a motion to adjourn the Joint Equity, Diversity & Inclusion and Facilities, Security & Transportation Subcommittee meeting at 7:35 pm. Mrs. Lebo seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.