In Part II of our behind the scenes, raw and unedited tour of Wellington Elementary, we go with Wellington parent Karen Parmett to one of the kindergarten classrooms where 23 kids cram into a ca. 1960s classroom that’s just 700 square feet — around 25% smaller than Mass. State guidelines. And its cold, to boot, with single pane glass windows running the length of the room. I didn’t get a chance to film this, but Karen talked about having to bundle her child up so she could stay warm in class during the winter. Ironic, given that folks in other parts of Wellington are peeling off layers to compensate for the gonzo-steam heating system. More food for thought with an override for repairs and improvements at Wellington top on the agenda this winter! ….[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBAWFBuOMqU]
Wellington’s main office is tiny. Even worse: it was sweltering late Tuesday night, even hours after they shut down the steam boilers that turn this part of the building into a sauna during the daytime. Other parts of the school are serviced by a separate hot water system, and are too cold for much of the day.
We’ve all been reading about the upcoming debt exclusion to fund reconstruction of the Wellington Elementary School and other “expensive items,” as the Belmont Citizen Herald referred to them. What’s harder to grasp from a news story is why a total overhaul at Wellington is necessary. Wellington, after all, was one of just 49 schools state wide to be selected by the Massachusetts School Building Authority for a Feasibility Study, so obviously the State thinks things are pretty dire. But parents (myself included) who don’t have children at the school may not sense the urgency of the situation there. God knows I didn’t, which is why I was glad I took a tour with Wellington parent Karen Parmett and Wellington’s facilities director just before the Tuesday School Committee Meeting.
Whether its outdated heating and electrical systems that run operating costs up 50% per child, half century old heating systems that make some students swelter while others bundle up, windowless classrooms in the basement or sinkholes in the parking lot…this school needs a radical makeover. To help the BB community see for themselves, I took along my handy Canon Powershot and made some videos from the tour. Over the next couple days, I’m going to be uploading them and letting you, the BloggingBelmont audience, check out the Wellington tour — raw and unedited — and decide for yourself.