Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Facilities Committee

TESD Facilities Committee Update

To update . . . I attended the Facilities Committee meeting on Friday morning. The meeting started at 7:30 AM and lasted until 11 AM! Dr. Pete Motel is the chairman of the Facilities Committee; school board members Karen Cruickshank and Anne Crowley serve on the committee and attended. Also in attendance for the meeting was Superintendent Dr. Waters, Business Manager Art McDonnell, Controller Jeff Curtis, Construction Manager Bob Plyler, and Architect Tom Daley. School board president Betsy Fadem was in attendance for some of the meeting. Ray Clarke, Julia Hanson and 2 other residents also attended the meeting. The agenda included complete updates on all current and planned district construction projects.

I had never attended a Facilities Committee meeting so I was not sure what to expect . . . Pete Motel could not have been more welcoming to me, and much to my surprise, seemed to appreciate my many questions. There was not a question that seemed to be off-limits; they could not have been kinder or more patient in their responses. There will be minutes from the Facilities Committee and I will post them when they become available. Here are some of the meeting highlights. Ray, feel free to add your comments from the meeting.

I asked about the use of Teamer Field, whether it was available to rent. Teamer Field is not available and the reason is that there is an agreement with local residents to be mindful of the community with lights, noise, etc. Aside from specific district school usage, they are respectful of the community and the immediate neighbors by not allowing non-district usage.

The 4 houses on Lancaster Avenue will be demolished in June, after school gets out. The demolition is being coordinated in conjunction with the township sidewalk project. It is the intention that the work will be Monday-Friday (during daytime hours) and all neighbors are to be notified of the demolition schedule. Originally slated for additional parking, this land will be seeded and the parking lot project has now moved to the 2011/12 budget. When pressed, Dr. Motel does not think that the parking lot will ever be constructed, period. It does not appear that there continues to be a parking need. This will be savings of $1million+ in the 2011/12 budget. There was a question about whether the Old Lancaster property could be sold — it’s not so much whether or not it could be sold. Dr. Motel was absolute that the District will hold on to the property; it will not be sold. The ESC building (next to Easttown Library) is slated for demolition in the fall. That building has major asbestos issues and its demolition will remove a yearly maintenance cost to the district.

I asked how the land on Old Lancaster Ave and the 1st Avenue (ESC site) would be used in the immediate future. Future usage had not been decided — I made the suggestion that perhaps the space(s) could be used as a community garden or perhaps middle or high school student garden projects. Just thought that this could create an opportunity for a partnership between the District and the community — maybe even a ‘feed the hungry’ type of garden. Not sure where I should take those suggestions . . . maybe there is a local nonprofit that would like to get involved.

At the end of the meeting, I thanked all those in attendance at the meeting for their indulgence with my questions. I can not stress enough — Pete Motel and all in attendence offered complete access and transparency. I was most impressed!

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