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Architect presents preliminary plan for Brunswick schools

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Architect presents preliminary plan for Brunswick schools

BRUNSWICK — One of the architects working on planned renovations at Coffin Elementary School and Brunswick Junior High School on Monday presented the work his firm has done.

This is the beginning of the second phase for the school facilities plan, which has received an appropriation of $174,500 from the Town Council. Estimates from the first phase found that planned renovations could cost the town up to $21 million.

"We've reached a point where we're beginning to make decisions and observe things that we felt that the full board would be best apprised of, and also the public at large," board Member Rich Ellis said before introducing PDT Architects principal Lyndon Keck in a special meeting Monday night.

Keck ran through proposed locations for the School Department's new bus garage, three different driveway and parking configurations between Coffin and Brunswick Junior High School, and the current blueprints for proposed changes at the two schools. 

Keck said changes in the two schools' driveway and parking configuration were based on feedback from the board's Facilities and Maintenance Committee four weeks ago.

One of the the three options he presented was clearly preferred by people at the meeting. It would create a one-way road between the two schools from Barrows Street, with many parallel parking spots, and become a two-way road near the schools' main entrance on Columbia Avenue.

Buses would enter from Columbia Avenue, go into a clustered parking configuration in front of Coffin and exit onto Barrows Street. 

"One of the things we were trying to do overall is we've been trying to separate as much as possible the buses from the automobiles from the truck service," Keck said, "and we've tried to make it possible for pedestrians to more easily navigate the site by introducing more sidewalks on the site."

For Coffin, Keck said, significant expansions are planned, including a new wing that includes a kitchen, cafeteria, library and several classrooms.

Because of Coffin's planned expansion and the current bus garage's adjacent location to the school, architects will have to find a location to build a new garage.

Four locations were assessed, Keck said, but one seems the most viable so far: the site of the old Times Record Building. He said it would be Brunswick's least expensive option, because the town already owns the lot, and it includes existing utilities and the deparment's current bus fueling station. The former newspaper building at 6 Industry Road is now being demolished.

For Brunswick Junior High, changes include widening the administrative offices and constructing new rooms for alternative education and art classes, along with common areas for each grade and a central courtyard.

A few board members suggested changes to the plans presented by Keck, and Ellis said the board will continue to solicit ideas and concerns on the School Depatment's website and at future meetings, including one on Dec. 19.

Ellis said the school facilities plan's second phase is expected to finish in Feburary. A construction bond referendum could follow.

"If we can get the project rolling in June, that's great," Ellis said, "so to do that, we need to bring it to a vote in either June or there's been some discussion of bringing it in April, but we're going to work through this process to afford the appropriate input."

Dylan Martin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or dmartin@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DylanLJMartin.