Dear Superintendent Bodie, members of the School Committee and members of the School Enrollment Task Force,
We, the undersigned parents, educators, residents and taxpayers of Arlington stand opposed to the plan as presented for the expansion of Ottoson Middle School.
The current plan calls for 32,000 square feet of classroom space on two floors including classrooms, bathrooms, specialist rooms and offices.
We are opposed to this plan for the following reasons:
- It does nothing to address the already crowded common spaces (cafeteria, gym and media center) at Ottoson. With projected growth to over 1300 students in the next five years and Ottoson built for 1050 students, the lack of additional shared spaces doesn’t solve the problem of overcrowding at Ottoson.
- It would result in Ottoson becoming, over the next five years, the largest middle school (6-8) in the state of Massachusetts. This has negative implications for student learning and social emotional growth.
- It builds on already limited green space that is currently used for physical education.
- It would do nothing to alleviate the already challenging parking and traffic issues around the Ottoson site.
- It would require significant construction for at least 2 years on a small and constricted site where at least 10 and up to 14 modular classrooms would also be needed to hold the student population. There are real safety and access concerns.
- The cost estimate is not comprehensive. First, the topography (ledge) of the OMS site is challenging from a construction perspective and it caused price and time overruns in previous projects. The quote is based on a rough estimate of cost per square foot rather than on a feasibility study and does not include the cost of the planned level of parking or blasting.
We are opposed to this plan because it is not in the best interest of Arlington’s students and we do not support using our tax dollars to pay for it.