School Board Discusses Next Phase of Master Planning and Visioning

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Thursday August 23, 2018

A deeper analysis of the South Burlington School District’s educational facilities has been continuing as the District’s Master Planning and Visioning process enters its next phase.

As growth and development continue city wide, the district is doing its due diligence to critically evaluate current and future needs, especially as enrollment remains steady and slightly rising in contrast to many districts statewide. The Master Planning and Visioning process, which began in 2015, includes additional sound testing at the Chamberlin School by the Jones Payne Group (consultants affiliated with the airport). Phase II of the educational aspect of the school facilities analysis will begin soon.
The school district conducted independent noise testing at Chamberlin School by hiring the firm ATC in April. The firm completed their testing over several days and their final report became available in mid-May, which helped establish a baseline for noise and calculated day/night sound levels (DNLs) for all locations during sampling events. Their study found that all events were below the 70 decibel (dB) baseline presented in the F35A Environmental Impact Statement of 2013. However, the calculated DNLs for all locations during all sampling events exceeded both the indoor (45 dB) and outdoor (55 dB) Federal Interagency Committee on Noise (FICON) thresholds.

The Jones Payne Group conducted their testing by placing speakers on the roof of the building as well as other outside locations and calculating the difference between outdoor noise and indoor impact, as opposed to ATC, which used actual aircraft traffic, including F16s flying overhead, as their noise sources.

With the desire to ensure equitable education across all schools, Superintendent David Young pushed for funding from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for noise mitigation. It was decided that consultants of the airport would need to conduct their own sound testing to determine the level of eligibility for the school. A $75,000 grant was approved to have the testing conducted.

The Jones Payne Group completed their testing Aug. 17 and if their study indicates that the FICON number is above 45 dB, the school could receive grant funding for noise mitigation in the summer of 2019. In addition to upgrades to windows and doors, the grant would also cover hazardous materials abatement including the removal and disposal of the oldest windows at Chamberlin, which have tested positive for asbestos and PCBs. The windows will be sealed with caulk prior to the beginning of the school year.

Phase I of the high school and middle school facilities assessment was completed in May by Dore and Whittier Architects. The firm provided documentation to the board of both existing conditions and physical assessment of the site and buildings. Cost estimates for improvements came in at $31,574,580 between the two schools. The list of projects with a high priority, which the firm recommended completing within two years, came to $3,713,657 for the middle school and $558,319 for the high school.

With this information in hand, work has begun toward executing Phase II, funding for which was included in the FY 19 budget. This phase will evaluate the educational vision for the district and help determine how to implement changes. All four architectural firms that originally provided proposals in the summer of 2017 have been interviewed. Bridget Burkhardt, who sits on the Master Planning and Visioning Subcommittee, as well as the interview committee for the architectural firms, said that some of her concerns about an architectural firm evaluating educational needs were allayed when she discovered at least one of the firms has two teachers on staff to help with that visioning process. A synopsis of the team’s findings will be provided to the board at the Sept. 5 meeting.


SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent