Schools Asking $2.6 Million For Burbank Modulars At Special Town Meeting

Photo: Modular classrooms.

The Belmont School Committee will seek $2.6 million from November’s Special Town meeting to purchase and install four modular classrooms and pay for long-anticipated repairs at the Burbank Elementary School.

The classrooms are expected to be up and running by the first day of the 2018-19 school year in September 2018, according to Belmont Schools Superintendent John Phelan who spoke before the Belmont School Committee Tuesday night, Sept. 26.

Phelan told the school committee his talk ‘is a preview of the presentation” he will be making to the 290 Town Meeting members on Nov. 13, which is an update of a report in June after the Burbank was selected to receive the modulars. 

The added short-term space is needed due to the rapid growth of student enrollment throughout the district. In the past year, 132 new students entered the system taking the school population to 4,540 as of September 2017. Additionally, there are more teachers in the elementary schools to help reduce class sizes that reach into the mid to high 20s.

The Burbank’s four modulars, which will cost $1,070,400, will be sited adjacent to the rear of the school building which will allow for a covered walkway between the two structures. A good chunk of the money – $1.1 million – will be dedicated to utility work including bringing electrical, water and gas from School Street to the rear of the school. 

The funds will also pay for the repair and expansion of the parking lot and the overhaul of the asphalt playground area, including possibly adding a turf playing surface at “Maeve’s Corner” a shaded area whose grass surface is turned muddy throughout the year.

“These upgrades at the Burbank were overdue. That back playground should have been replaced years ago. The parking has been insufficient,” said Phelan. 

As in June, the furniture, instructional materials and technology will be paid out of the department’s account rather than add to an already substantial request. 

‘We are asking a lot from the town by asking more money for the modulars, said Phelan. “We want to be mindful that we are advocating for the schools as part of the larger community.”                                    

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