2012-02-10 / Front Page

Looming cut stalls facilities work

BY DARREN FISHELL Times Record Staff

BRUNSWICK — Last week’s announcement that the Brunswick School Department stands to experience a projected cut of $1.2 million in state education aid for 2012-13 stopped the district’s facilities planning cold.

Superintendent Paul Perzanoski said consideration of whether to restore Jordan Acres School to working order and proposed upgrades to Coffin Elementary School and Brunswick Junior High School will be off the table until the department figures out what to do about an anticipated $3 million reduction in revenue for the 2012-13 budget cycle.

A facilities study in the works by consultants from the architectural firm Harriman Inc. outlines potential reconfigurations of school facilities following the closure of three schools in the last four years.

At a January meeting, the School Board voted against pursuing the purchase of the former Times Record building on Industry Road for use as a combination bus garage and administrative building. Jeff Larimer, an engineer for Harriman Inc., had said that move could cut operating costs for both facilities.

At a Thursday morning meeting of the school department’s budget committee, board member Rich Ellis said the district could face even greater challenges in the coming year should more students enroll at Brunswick schools.

“We are at capacity with K- 5,” said Ellis, who chairs the department’s facilities committee. “We don’t have a room in our current buildings to put any more students.”

Ellis said that any further increase in student population at Harriet Beecher Stowe School would push enrollment beyond capacity.

Harriet Beecher Stowe School, which opened this school year, was built to accommodate all of Brunswick’s third- through fifth-graders. However, after deciding to mothball Jordan Acres School starting in 2011-12 to meet structural and financial concerns, school officials decided to send all of the town’s second graders to Stowe.

That move forced school administrators to find new classroom space at Stowe.

Ellis also said he hopes that a public forum on Feb. 29 might turn up other ideas for the configuration of school facilities that have not yet been discussed.

dfishell@timesrecord.com

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