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Citizens Still Searching for Answers About CCHS Building Project

As officials work toward getting plans for a new CCHS “back on track,” Patch checked in with few citizens still upset over the derailment and “lack of transparency” from around the project.

due to an inflated budget for the new building project has upset citizens throughout Concord and Carlisle.

And, while officials met last month with the Massachusetts School Building Authority regarding the district's progress efforts to get the project back on track and in line for a resumption of state funding, the major mystery still remains: How did this all happen in the first place?

Speaking with members of what has been referred to as a “small, but very vocal” group upset over the mismanagement of the project, there is still resentment from the public towards aspects of the project's current course and not receiving in-depth responses to their concerns.

Among the most vocal of the this minority are Concord residents David Allen, Lissa McKinney and Bill Plummer.

“From the 'outside' [this is a] not-small problem - in fact a quite serious failure of management of the process," said Allen. "As some evidence of this, the architect, OMR, has for some period of time 'worked on its own nickel' - the phrase I had to eke out of [CCHS Building Committee Chair Stan] Durlacher at the 8/22 forum. That is, the architect for some period realized that it had to make up for some of the large error, by not billing for time, in the attempt to correct."

Allen was referring to the escalating cost estimates for the CCHS Building project, a key reason the .

"Though it is difficult to get unambiguous information out of those who have it," Allen said, "The other cause, apparently: though again facts are shrouded by those who actually know, it seems that - after the November vote - teachers in particular were asked for input. This, it seems, led to further ballooning of projected cost.”

Bill Plummer, another resident looking for answers for the inflated project cost, said he, like the MSBA, believes the architect, project manager and the CCHS Building Committee share the blame.

“The excessive cost was inherent in the plans drawn by the architects, and evidently the Building Committee did not provide them adequate supervision for some months," said Plummer. "Most recently, the effort to duck the blame has surfaced in their campaign to pretend that 'a small number of vocal opponents' are going to delay building the nice new school. That is not true. The MSBA explained exactly why they stopped the funding, and it was because of management errors of the district. Community inputs were not at all involved."

Lissa McKinney, a Concord resident spurred on by plans to raze the bus depot and outsource school transportation, said she's not sure anyone is going to step up and shoulder the blame.

“I doubt all parties would ever agree because there have been so many egos vested in the early work of the Building Committee, and they just don’t want to be perceived as having erred," McKinney said. "No one wants to re-examine what’s best in the financial long-run of the community. Where things are likely to go, and where I think they should have gone to save the community $25 million or more, are two different places.”

Neither CCHS Building Committee Chairman Stan Durlacher nor Superintendent of Schools Diana Rigby responded to requests to comment for this report.

LM September 06, 2012 at 12:42 PM
The QUESTION was:Where would you like to see things go from here so all parties involved are satisfied moving forward? Whole ANSWER: I doubt all parties would ever agree because there have been so many egos vested in the early work of the Building Committee and they just don’t want to be perceived has having erred. No one wants to re examine what’s best in the financial long-run of the community. Where things are likely to go and where I think they should have gone to save the community 25 million or more are two different places. I hope that we will have a new HS moving forward and that the millions saved by leaving the Transportation Buildings where they are will be valued if not appreciated when it comes time to ante up for the DEP clean-up and other costs are presented for funding. For example, many expenditures that are Value Engineered out of the design to reign in the budget could be reimbursed by MSBA. Many are costs we will make in other years, and are simply being deferred now. We can expect a lot of Prop 2 ½ over-rides in the years to come. Lissa McKinney
Patrick Ball (Editor) September 06, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Hi Lissa, Thanks for adding that context and your complete answer. -patrick
Bill Montague September 06, 2012 at 02:19 PM
My suggestion would be to replace all the people involved! Get a whole new School Committie as Lissa McKinney said "So many egos vested in the early work of the Building Committee and they just don’t want to be perceived has having erred." By electing a new Building Committee and a new School Committe there would not be any Egos to contend with! By now it's obvious to all the tax payers in town - the present system is broken! Ask David Allen, Lissa McKinney and Bill Plummer, who are very interested in this project get on board and see what they for at least (3) can do! It will take a great effort to replace them all - but what other choice do we have? Cheers! Bill Montague

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