Thursday November 30, 2017
The Master Planning and Visioning subcommittee, comprised of school board members Bridget Burkhardt, Martin LaLonde, Steve Wisloski, Business Manager John Aubin, former Business Manager John Stewart, and Superintendent David Young, has been at work gathering information on enrollment, demographics, phase one of the architectural analysis of the middle and high schools, and current school climate conditions. The timeline for completion of the board’s four goals, ultimately aimed at ensuring educational equity across the district is achieved, has shifted into the spring and winter of 2018. However, at the November 14 meeting, the subcommittee evaluated an item they can begin moving on right away, and that is a sound assessment at Chamberlin School.
ATC will be the company conducting the noise study and is a business familiar to the district as they were responsible for identifying the asbestos in the high school windows two summers ago. Noise evaluation is another of their specialties. Young and Aubin met with ATC regarding their proposed noise monitoring plan November 13 which would provide the district with a baseline noise survey of current conditions inside and outside Chamberlin School, including existing F-16 noise and noise from operations at the airport. Data collected will be compared to the data presented in the 2013 FEIS (Federal Environmental Impact Statement), the VOSHA (Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulations concerning hearing conservation, and the 1992 FICON (Federal Interagency Committee on Noise) Report.
The data will be used to determine the per-hour number of aircraft related noise events in excess of the 65 dBA and 75 dBA threshold for the duration of the eight-hour school day, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The plan will also be used to identify changes in noise levels at the Chamberlin School following the arrival of the F35 in South Burlington in September 2019. ATC will work with the district and Chamberlin School staff to determine the ideal sample days, times, and sampling locations for this testing to occur.
This study marks a key component of the master planning and visioning subcommittee’s work since they are evaluating contingency plans related to the Chamberlin School should noise levels be deemed unacceptable. One of the favored options throughout discussions has been the purchase and use of modular or portable classrooms, should students need to be relocated in the short term. However, Young’s thinking has shifted on this front and now an investment in sound insulation is the preferred route. Part of the reasoning behind this shift is that, according to Young, the district could qualify for sound insulation funding through the FAA Noise Compatibility Program. The district was told months ago by the FAA that they would qualify and Young is currently consulting with their attorney to determine whether they could petition the FAA to acquire the funding for mitigation measures sooner rather than later. In the interim, money from a bond would likely be used for this purpose prior to being reimbursed by the FAA, as opposed to bonding for mobile trailers in this year’s budget. Modulars have a short shelf life and may not even ultimately be necessary and would not be a reimbursable expense from the FAA. The district is working to determine what type of sound proofing would be necessary and at what cost.
Under the district’s executive limitation policy, since the price tag for the sound testing is below $15,000, Young is not required to seek board approval prior to moving forward, but brought the item forth at their November 15 meeting to solicit feedback, nonetheless. The board did not feel there were any immediate concerns, therefore, Young is hoping to finalize the project details in the coming weeks so testing can get underway. If all goes as planned, the final report should be available to the board in mid-January after which, next steps can be determined.
SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent