Breaking: Burbank Principal Resigns After Staff, District Lost Confidence In His Leadership

Photo: Burbank Elementary School

Seeley Okie, principal of the Burbank Elementary School, was forced to resign his position on Thursday, Oct. 21 after teachers and staff of the school “expressed concerns” to the Belmont School District on his running of the school since September and, specifically, Okie’s handling of a specific event in which a student was restrained during a “de-escalation” incident under his watch.

In a letter to the Burbank community dated Oct. 21, Belmont Superintendent John Phelan said after recently speaking with school personnel and reviewing the incident with the student, Okie was placed on administrative leave on an unspecified date according to district protocol.

After subsequent conversations “we have come to a mutual agreement that Principal Okie will submit his resignation, effective immediately,” wrote Phelan. “[Okie] has been fully cooperative throughout this process and has indicated that this course of action is best for him personally and professionally, for his family, and most importantly, for the school community.”

Phelan expressed his personal thanks to Okie for providing “leadership and stability” through “the significant challenges and uncertainty” of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Okie came to the Burbank as its interim principal in July 2019 after spending seven years as assistant principal at the McArthur Elementary School in Waltham. He was named Burbank’s full-time principal starting in September 2020.

Phelan said the district’s central office and members of the superintendent’s Leadership Team – made up of senior staff and the district’s principals – will work with teachers and staff to “ensure the smooth operation of the school.”

The district will begin “an immediate search” to hire an interim principal for the Burbank. It comes at the same time Butler Elementary Principal Danielle Betancourt announced her resignation after accepting a position in London.

Belmont High Defense In The Spotlight As Football Overpowers Lexington, 14-3; SpyPonders Await

Photo: Belmont High Jr. Asa Rosenmeier in action vs. Lextington

Belmont High’s defense coordinator Dave Pereira had seen enough.

With 6:35 left in the second quarter, Belmont called a time out. While being up 14-0 on a pair of first quarter touchdowns, the Belmont defense had just allowed Lexington High’s run oriented offense to convert a third and long and a fourth down play on their side of the 50 and had just picked up 12 yards to Belmont’s 31 on a handoff that looked stopped dead at the line of scrimmage.

Whether it was to convey his considerable displeasure at the performance of his charges during the series – it was – or to encourage the team to step up the intensity it showed during the previous times on the field – less so – Pereira was providing a good, old timey tongue lashing to get his point across. “Do your jobs” was the sentiment from the long-time leader of the defense 11.

And Pereira’s “urging” worked. After stuffing three consecutive runs, Belmont’s sophomore defensive stalwart Max Cornelius sacked the Minuteman quarterback for a ten yard loss on fourth down which sent the Marauders’ DC out on the pitch, this time with loving praise for his men.

The defense would proceed to stop Lexington twice inside the Belmont 10 yard line in the third quarter as the Marauders’ took down the Minutemen, 14-3, under the Friday Night Lights of Harris Field. Belmont is now staring at a 4-2 record with a trip to bordering Arlington on Friday, Oct. 22 to take on the SpyPonders for a chance to climb up the MIAA Power Rankings and closer to a playoff spot.

“That was the most complete game of defense we’ve played in a long, long time,” Pereira told the team after the game. “The secondary was locked on the way through, linebackers were aggressive and the defensive line except for a couple of times … didn’t fly up field!”

“The defense played a hell of a game, recovering a fumble, you guys came through,” said first year Head Coach Brian McCray, pointing to the two times Lexington entered the red zone inside Belmont’s 20 yard line.

“What I saw last year and at the beginning of this year, you would have folded and have given up the touchdowns. You guys are maturing as defensive football players and that’s what we’ll need to be when we face the bigger teams,” said McCray.

The game’s keystone in the defense’s arch was senior defensive back John Dolan, who hung over the Minutemen receivers like a grandmother’s winter drapes while providing birddog pursuit on running plays. As Lexington was driving downfield to answer Belmont’s opening TD, number 11 torpedoed into the Minutemen backfield to not break up or destroy the attempted sweep, but obliterated the play for a six yard loss leading to a subsequent punt.

“This defense has been showing up all year which I have to give a lot to the coaching,” said Dolan. “In practice we are replicating [the opponents] offense. So I knew exactly what to expect whey they pass and run.”

When asked if the Marauders should be respected for its defense, Dolan nodded. “I mean, we love defense. I love defense. I know all my boys do also.”

“Honestly, without Johnny Dolan, I don’t know if we could do this,” said Pereira. “That kid has worked for years to get here, paid his dues and it’s his time and he’s playing great.”

Belmont did enough early to give the Marauders enough of a cushion to take home the victory. On Belmont’s first possession of the game, sophomore quarterback Jayden Arno found this brother, senior wide receiver Tyler, all alone on a busted coverage and the siblings played throw and catch for the easiest 56 yard touchdown of the season. The second time the Marauders handled the ball, it took them three plays to travel 70 yards with sophomore running back Adrien Gurung taking it the final 20 yards on a stop and go burst over the right hand side to give Belmont a 14-0 lead at the 3:48 mark of the first quarter.

Unlike the previous week when Belmont piled on 41 points against Winchester, this game saw Jayden Arno play more like a 15 year old as his passes were just off the mark, including over throwing two wide open receiver that each would have gone for certain 6s.

But the Belmont defense would take the two touchdown advantage and keep it under wraps with a solid demonstration of containment football. When Lexington ventured to the Belmont five yard line in the eighth minute of the third quarter, the defensive front four did not allow the Minutemen a yard over three plays. On fourth down, senior Zach Moss pressured the quarterback into an intentional grounding and senior Gordon Lasseter defended the subsequent end zone pass to prevent a score.

The Minutemen were right back knocking at the door with a third down and five at Belmont’s nine yard line when that man Dolan tackled the Lexington running back for a three yard loss, resulting in the Minutemen scoring their only points of the night with a field goal at 2:42 left in the quarter.

For the rest of the third and through most of the fourth, Belmont set forth to eat as much time as they could with Gurung doing the grunt work of running into the middle of the offensive line time and time again. It was just a matter of running out those final 15 odd minutes to secure the “W”.

After the game as he greeted parents, Pereira said the program has been working for years “to get to this point.”

“Actually, I don’t do that much, it’s the kids and they’re awesome,” he said, calling out Moss for quarterbacking the defense and Cornelius who he called “amazing.”

“He’s never played football before and here he is. He comes out and learns and he’s becoming a leader with this team,” said one very proud coach.

Andrea Prestwich, School Committee Chair During Height Of Pandemic, Stepping Down

Photo: Andrea Prestwich at the 2021 Belmont High School graduation

Andrea Prestwich, who led the Belmont School Committee during the height of a worldwide pandemic that upended education in Belmont, resigned from the committee Wednesday, Oct. 20, after accepting a role with the government’s leading funding source for basic science research.

“I’ve been offered a position as Program Director at the National Science Foundation and I hope to start next week,” Prestwich said in a letter to Town Clerk Ellen Cushman. “I’m very excited by this new opportunity, but it will be a lot of work and I won’t have the time needed to devote to the School Committee going forward.”

“It has been an honor to serve on the School Committee,” said Prestwich who is the committee’s longest serving member having been elected in April 2016.

“I look back at what I said when I first ran for the school committee, back in 2016, and I said, ‘I’m in awe of the teachers, the administrators and the students.’ And that’s still true. I am in awe of all those people,” said Prestwich at the committee’s Tuesday, Oct. 19 meeting.

“The district really does faces some significant challenges, especially financial. But you guys have the right core values, and are excellent people. And I believe that you can these core values and the right people will sustain the district through difficult times,” said Prestwich of her committee colleagues.

Amy Checkoway, the committee’s current chair, said she and the committee “will miss among other things, your insightful questions, your extensive scientific knowledge, and your honesty.”

Prestwich’s leadership occurred “during an incredibly difficult time to serve on the school committee, let alone be a chair,” said Checkoway. Taking the helm in April 2020 – she was the only sitting member who volunteered to replace the previous chair who suddenly resigned – Prestwich faced a district forced to provide a daily classroom experience remotely which it provided on the fly as the severity of the pandemic brought daily roadblocks to the education process.

Belmont Superintendent John Phelan said he and the central office staff shared a very unique experience with Prestwich “which was a year of Covid challenges” and the efforts to ensure that students would attend “safe school environment.”

“It does feel like we’re battle scarred, doesn’t it,” Prestwich said.

Prestwich led the committee in the district’s contentious phased opening of school starting in remote learning in Sept. 2020 which she said was a good decision, although admitting parents should have been part of the process in developing the plan. She championed district-wide Covid testing and increasing education spending in future budgets to provide needed additional instruction just as a populist austerity faction in town raised questions on funding.

With her stances, Prestwich became a convenient target for parental critics on social media platforms including many particularly personal attacks alleging a “hidden agenda” to grab control of the district. Detractors went so far as to suggest starting a recall effort which quickly petered out.

In a December 2020 interview, Prestwich explained that both she and the committee appreciated the anxiety of parents whose children remained out of the classroom.

“I completely understand the level of frustration in the community with our schools,” Prestwich said. “Not one of us on the School Committee is happy with the current situation. We would all like for school in Belmont to be back to normal. As School Committee chair, I’m the natural target for the frustration.”

“I remember very vividly a phone conversation I had with Andrea at some point last school year, when she described how heavy this role felt every day,” said Checkoway, who took over Prestwich’s role after she stepped down from the chair’s position in early April.

Prestwich ran in 2016 promoting later school start times especially for high school students, pointing to the overwhelming scientific evidence that maturing teens – She and her husband, Steve Saar, are parents of teenage twins – more sleep to effectively tackle the school day.

Her reliance on a fact-based approach as chair and as a member can be found in her own education and day job. A PhD in Astrophysics from Imperial College London, this year marked Prestwich’s 30th anniversary at Harvard’s Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory where she is a staff scientist at the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

And in her final act as a committee member, Prestwich was given the honor of closing the committee’s meeting one last time.

Lions Roaring Back With Trees, Wreaths This Christmas Time

Photo: Selecting the right tree at the Belmont Lions Club tree sale

Alright, yes, I know Halloween is more than a week away and Thanksgiving’s turkey and football game is still off in the distance. But Monday, Oct. 18, residents were reminded Christmas is just around the corner as the Select Board approved the annual license for the Belmont Lions Club to sell trees and wreaths outside of its clubhouse on Royal Road at the commuter rail station.

The club will sell Nova Scotia gown trees – from the same farm since the sale began in 1957 – and wreaths, mantle pieces, baskets and many other holidays items from Friday, Nov. 26 through Friday, Dec. 24. But don’t dawdle: last year the trees sold out early so get them as soon as they come off the truck.

Lions Secretary Felix Firenze told the board it will continue the Covid-19 restrictions and contract tracing from last year at the site at the corner of Common Street and Royal Road just outside of Belmont Center. It will also keep last year’s hours of operation: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday; and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weeknights.

“We have all the protocols that we needed to get through this pandemic and it was very successful for us [in 2020],” said Firenze.

In addition, the club will keep the revamped parking and pickup practice caused by the rerouting of the MBTA bus last year.

“It sort of ran right through [the site] but you soldiered on and worked your way through it and I’m thanking you for that,” said Adam Dash, Select Board chair.

In addition, the Lions have already set the date for the 2021 Traveling Santa: Saturday, Dec 18. So be good.

“It’s a wonderful operation, Felix, and a great service for our community,” said Board Member Mark Paolillo.

Select Board Approves Vaccine Mandate For Belmont Town Workers

Photo: Vaccination is a requirement for town employees

The Belmont Select Board voted unanimously Monday night, Oct. 18 to mandate all town employees to be vaccinated for Covid-19.

But the requirement will likely take at least a month, if not longer, before it goes into effect as the town must complete impact bargaining with the seven labor unions representing the 300 full- and part-time municipal employees. During those talks, it will be determined what administration action will be taken against workers who remain unvaccinated.

“This is a public health emergency,” said Select Board Chair Adam Dash before the vote. “I think [the board] need[s] to stand strong and do the right thing.”

“The goal here is for people to get vaccinated and stay employed. They’ve sacrificed quite a lot in their lives to [be in public service] and this is one of those things for the greater good,” Dash said.

The town mandate comes after the Belmont School Committee approved an agreement on Sept. 10 with the Belmont Education Association to require teachers and school staff to be vaccinated.

Spurring the board’s vote was the lastest data on Covid-19 infection rates in Belmont. Data (see at the bottom of the article) compiled by Public Heath Agent Lindsey Sharp showed higher 2021 infection rates than in the same month in 2020. For instance, while there were 11 new cases in August 2020, Belmont recorded 96 in 2021. And since June of this year, Belmont has seen 233 new cases, with nearly half being breakthrough cases occurring to residents who are fully vaccinated.

Sharp said the surge in the past few months are likely related to the highly virulent delta variant of the virus and the reopening of schools and businesses during the summer and fall. “There’s just more people out and about doing activities, traveling,” said Sharp.

In a voluntary survey of employees conducted by the town’s Human Resources Director Shawna Healey, a little more than a third participated of whom all said they have received at least one shot of the Covid-19 vaccine. The town’s Labor Counsel Brian Maser told the board it could require the other employees to provide their vaccination status by exercising its managerial prerogative as part of a vaccination mandate.

But even if the board went that route, “what does that get us?” said the Board’s Mark Paolillo. If, for example, 80 percent of employees are vaccinated, “what do we do with the other 20 percent?”

“I hate to mandate anything but these employees work for the town and we have to consider the safety of our residents,” said Paolillo. Saying there has been “chatter” on Facebook that the board is seeking to control worker’s lives, Paolillo “we’re just trying to protect the public.”

Vice chair Roy Epstein suggested a possible two track approach used at health sites such as the Boston Medical Center in which unvaccinated employees are required to be tested once or twice a week if they choose not to comply with notification requirements or outright refusal. But Paolillo countered that while religious or medical exemptions can be part of the measure, the board needed to take a strong stance on vaccinations.

“I just don’t think halfway [measures] helps anything. It’s either fully mandate or you don’t,” said Paolillo who backed Dash’s amendment.

The most notable of public comment came from resident Joseph Kelly who has questioned the vaccine mandates in Belmont at other venues, saying “there are a lot of things, short term and long term, that we don’t understand yet“ about the Covid vaccine, citing side effects to young recipients and a myriad of other issues. He also noted what he called the “Nuremberg Code” that he said that a person cannot be forced or coerced to be part of this “medical experiment” which, if the employee mandate is passed, would result in a person losing their job.

[Editor’s note: USA Today has produced a fact sheet on the Nuremberg Code and the misinterpretation of its main tenant.]

One area the board expressed concern was what to do with employees who flatly refuse taking the vaccine after an agreement is approved. While not wanting to fire an employee, Maser told the board it can follow the state’s mandate for its executive branch employees. Those who do not comply by a specific date would be placed “on leave” status when they would be required to use their accrued benefits charge, basically their holiday and other time off. When that is expired, those employees are not meeting the condition of employment and faces progressive discipline and ultimately termination.

Town Administrator Patrice Garvin said the practical issue facing the town is negotiating with seven unions who will could have different demands or requirements before signing an agreement with the town. Maser advised the board not to set a date certain that is at least four weeks from the vote for the mandate to take effect. It was agreed that after informing the unions of the vote on Tuesday, the board will meet in executive session next week with Garvin, Healy and Maser to discuss strategy relative to what the town’s proposal to bring to the bargaining table.

Despite Neighboring Community’s Rat Concerns, Pumpkins Are Welcome In Belmont

Photo: Pumpkin … or problem?

Nothing signals fall than the appearance of the winter squash known as the pumpkin.

From mid-September to Thanksgiving, the humble pumpkin is a star; in the kitchen – pies, breads, spices and seeds – and especially for its aesthetic value: what doesn’t evoke the season than a slew of pumpkins on the stoop or a jack-o-lantern by the front door on Halloween? Nothing comes close.

But this year, the pumpkin is getting a cold shoulder in one of Belmont’s neighboring communities and it doesn’t have anything to do with cancel culture.

In Watertown, town officials are advising residents to chuck the real thing and replace it with plastic or ceramic orbs when decorating their stoops and gardens. The reason: rats. Well, rats and other vermin that have been sweeping through the town as if it was 14th century Hamelin.

Many homeowners have complained over the past year of an increase in rodents in a community has been a hot spot of commercial and town construction projects that disrupt them in their underground habitats. Shorter winters have allowed rat couples to have more babies and there’s the problem.

According to Larry Ramdin, Watertown’s public health director, the friendly urging from the town – it is not in anyway a mandate – is an attempt to remove a ready source of food for the local rodent population and that includes the orange squash.

“We have observed rat problems last year around this time. We are being proactive,” Ramdin told the Boston Globe.

“Did you know that putting pumpkins and other edible decorations outside your home can provide food sources for rodents?” Watertown health officials wrote in a Facebook post. “This year, please consider plastic decorations to help prevent rodents on your property and in Watertown.”

Belmont has also had its fair share of ratty issues in the recent past. A few year’s back, Joey’s Park in the Winn Brook neighborhood became a rodent housing complex with numerous underground burrows and the streets around Grove Street Playground have seen a sizable uptick in rats from overburdened trash containers and a problematic house on a nearby street.

But rest assured, the town’s Health Department is happy to tell residents they can keep the real thing this fall.

“At the moment we do not have reason for concern about Halloween pumpkins or any related outdoor activities,” said Wesley Chin, the Health Department’s director.

Belmont Boys’ Soccer Looks For Late Push To Secure Playoff Spot

Photo: The Belmont High seniors on their night

Belmont High School Boys’ Soccer Head Coach Niman Kenkre knew if there’s a game to win on the team’s schedule, it’s going to be Seniors Night, which, coincidentally, was Kenkre’s birthday.

And they did, as three seniors scored three second half goals – two in the final two minutes – as the Marauders took down visiting Burlington, 3-0, Wednesday, Oct. 13.

Senior attack Mateo Estrada-Donahue got the game winner 10 minutes into the second half from a quick hitter at the top of the box that scooted into the left corner of the goal. Anthony Dokhan smartly converted a penalty before Charlie November stole the ball from the Burlington goalie and tapped in his first varsity goal of his career.

The win gave the Marauders an all important last season boost in the MIAA Power Rankings – you can throw out the old win-loss record/total points to determine who’s going to the playoffs – has Belmont 34th in Division 1, a mere two places from being eligible for the state tournament.

The win came at the right time – and not just being on his birthday – as the team went through “a difficult stretch” according to Kenkre. After starting the campaign with three consecutive wins, the Marauders lost seven contests in row, some in excruciating late goals to opponents they had dominated during the game.

“We were so optimistic after our start,” he said, with the belief they would make a run to win the Middlesex League. “Then everything that could go wrong went wrong” including injuries and last second goals.

“It’s so easy for players to get dispirited. I’ve seen professional teams go down the tubes with losing streaks less bad than ours,” said Kenkre, who played professionally in Iceland.

Despite three-plus weeks of defeat after defeat, the team didn’t waver from the game philosophy installed at the start of the season that realized the Marauders couldn’t be competitive with most of its opponents attempting to play a physical running game, rather relying on short passes and movement off the ball.

And last week saw the turning of the ship as the Marauders took five of a possible six points defeating Watertown, 2-0, to stop the slide, tying Wakefield, 1-1, for the first away points since the first week of the season and taking down Burlington.

“I’m expecting a strong end to the season. We can control is in our hands and then, hopefully, the power ranking formula will be in our favor and we can we can get in [the tournament] and that would be wonderful,” said Kenkre.

And while its the results on the pitch that ultimately matters, Kenkre got a bit emotional after the Burlington tussle on the camaraderie the players have for each other and him.

“I mean it’s just such an amazing group of guys and the thing is, it really speaks volumes to their character, that they have this spirit, this love for each other for me, for our coaching staff, even though it’s been a hard time for all of us,” said Kenkre.

“And for them to stay strong through all, to stay together and have the support and love that they show for me, it’s an incredible feeling and I couldn’t be happier. And for it to all come together with such a nice victory on my birthday, I mean, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Preforming Arts Co.’s ‘Broadway Night’ To Show Off Belmont High’s New Black Box

Photo: The finale of BHS PAC Broadway Night (thanks to BHS PAC)

The Belmont High School Performing Arts Company is returning after a year-and-a-half in the virtual sphere to all live performances with its annual “Broadway Night: Musical Theater Cabaret” this weekend, Oct. 22 and 23 at 7 p.m.

To celebrate its homecoming, the in-school group will welcome the audience to its new home: The Black Box Theater on the first floor of the recently opened high school wing of the Belmont Middle and High School. The space has professional lighting and sound as well as flexible seating configurations that will allow for a greater audience experience.

Students artists will perform classic and contemporary works of musical theater consisting of solo/duet/small groups songs which are primarily self-directed which will showcase the acting, singing and dancing talents of the PAC members. And with every year, there will be a final song and dance performed by the entire company.

Tickets are $5 for students/children and $12 for adults. Tickets can be purchased online, and advance ticket purchase recommended: shows, as always, are expected to sell out!

Details about the show and ticket sales at bhs-pac.org

Due to As we prepare to invite audiences back into our schools, here are some guidelines for those who plan to attend theater events this year:

  • MASKS WILL BE REQUIRED for all audience members.
  • Food/drinks will not be allowed in performance spaces.
  • The size of our Black Box Theater means that there is not a guarantee of distancing for audience members. We encourage family units to sit together, but at sold out shows, you will be seated directly adjacent to others.
  • Some students performing on stage for theater events will be unmasked. These students have been required by the Belmont School Committee to be vaccinated.
  • Anyone experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 should not attend performances. You can reference the BPS Student Symptom Checker here.

Foundation For Belmont Education Thanks Record Number Of Runners, Supports For Successful 2021 Apple Run

Photo:

For the first time in two years, the Foundation for Belmont Education’s Apple Run returned to its five kilometer tour of Belmont schools on the first Sunday of October.

With close to 800 runners – 689 pre-registered and 109 day-of registrations – the support of 60-plus event volunteers, the race committee, multiple sponsors, many in-kind donors and the Partners in Education made the annual community event a unmitigated success.

“We truly love this annual community-wide event and would like to thank the following community members for their generous support: Triogo owner Donna Ognibene, who expertly got everyone warmed-up and ready to race; DJ Paul Madden for keeping the motivation and excitement going all morning with his music; and Belmont High School senior Emily Kaiser for her amazing rendition of the National Anthem. Thank you to Belmont Center Business Association and Moozy’s Ice Cream & Yoghurt Emporium for their incredible generosity with prize donations,” said the statement,” said the FBE in a statement.

The FBE also thanked the Belmont Police Department, Belmont Department of Public Works, and Belmont High Volleyball Team for their tremendous support.

Platinum sponsor: Cityside Subaru of Belmont

Results sponsor: Belmont Orthodontics

Bib sponsor: Didriks and Local Root

Water table sponsor: East Cambridge Savings Bank

T-shirt sponsors: Anne Mahon, Shant Banosian and Rogaris Law

FBE Investors in Education: Belmont Orthodontics, Belmont Savings Bank Foundation, Cityside Subaru of Belmont, and People’s United Bank.

5K MALE WINNERS:

Russell Leino, 39 – 16:41
Jackson Coelho, 17 – 17:12
William Ronchetti, 25 – 17:59

5K FEMALE WINNERS:

Francesca Kitch, 17 – 20:42*
Meredith Mikell, 39 – 20:57*
Heidi Kimberly, 46 – 21:10*
* The top 3 women broke the previous course record!

FASTEST 5K PER AGE GROUP:

U12 M – Fridolin Meichsner, 20:07
U12 F – Sasha Romig, 25:58
13-19M – Giulio Valfre Zaydenman, 20:56
13-19F – Sarah Yu, 22:50
20-29M – Sam Belcher, 19:29
20-29F – Olivia Sedita, 21:46
30-39M – Yuxiao Wang, 21:24
30-39F – Menfru Li, 21:35
40-49M – Lixin Qin, 18:57
40-49F – Becca Pizzi, 22:00
50-59M – Kevin Hettenbach, 21:29
50-59F – Lili Zhang, 23:30
60+M – Roger Tobin, 25:42
60+F – Mary Ciampa, 30:10

2K WINNERS (U12):

Fastest F – Elise Tandy, 10, 8:38
Fastest M – Will Olmstead, 11, 7:59

TEAM WINNERS:

Largest team – Belmont Public Library Road Warriors
Fastest M team – BCAA (Belmont Chinese American Association)
Fastest F team – Belmont High School Field Hockey
Fastest mixed team – Trombone Gang

MOST FESTIVE RUNNING OUTFIT:

Kara and Campbell Sassone

Trustees Want Residents To Take A Tour Sunday Through Belmont’s ‘Failing’ Library [Video]

Photo: Deteriorating infrastructure at the Belmont Public Library

On Oct. 4, the Belmont Select Board and Board of Library Trustees agreed a solution is needed for the failing library building. The constant failures – big and small – in critical library building systems are urgent, according to the Trustees; floods, leaks, electrical issues, an antiquated fire alarm system, and unreliable heating, air conditioning and elevators have put the building in a dire situation.

On Sunday, Oct. 17, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Belmont residents can take one of two tours of the inner workings of the library and see the condition of the building.

INDOOR OPTION: Take a small group guided tour to see the failing parts of the library building.

OUTDOOR OPTION: The committee has recreated the tour experience outdoors, using posters, video, and knowledgeable guides to walk through.

The tours are led by members of the Board of Library Trustees, Library Building Committee, and Library staff.

For more information, visit www.NewLibraryFund.org