Council Approves Middle School Windows Despite Jump in Price

Print More

Watertown Middle School

Watertown Middle School

Watertown Middle School

An increase in the cost of replacing the windows at Watertown Middle School gave the Town Council some pause, but councilors ultimately unanimously approved the cost of designing the project, in part because the state will pay for nearly half the bill.

Originally, the cost of the windows was estimated at slightly over $300,000, but when representatives from the Massachusetts School Building Authority came to look, they decided to increase the scope of the project can with it the price tag – which is now $2.7 million to $2.9 million.

Last week the council was asked to approve $224,400 to cover the schematic design costs of the project.

The windows cover the old portion of the middle school, and are a few decades old. Teachers said they are a distraction at best, and can be a real obstacle to learning at times.

“It really distracts students attention on rainy days because it is raining in the classroom,” said teacher Eleanor Donato. “In between there are issues with heat and cold.”

The windows have a bottom panel that folds in to let in air, but many don’t work right because the handles have fallen off, Donato said.

Water and air comes through the cracks, said middle school teacher Jane Evans said, who puts rags in the windows to stop the breeze coming through.

“It is silly to consider yourself a professional and have to worry will the room be too hot, will it be too cold, how wet it will be and what materials might be damaged,” Evans said.

In total, 207 windows will be replaced. Some councilors and residents still worried about the price of the windows being too high.

“It does sound like an important project but it seems to be an exorbitant amount of money for 200 windows – $15,000 per window,” said Council Vice President Steve Corbett.

Councilor Vincent Piccirilli said the project also includes money to make all the doors ADA handicap accessible, so that also added to the cost.

The work should be done, said Councilor Ken Woodland.

“The large cost doesn’t scare me,” Woodland said. “This is something we need to do.”

If the Council voted to reject the money for schematic design of the project, it would be also turning down money from the state, which will reimburse the town for 48.47 percent of the cost.

“Anytime you get 48.47 percent back it seals the deal for me,” said Town Council President Mark Sideris.

The windows will be more efficient than the old ones, said School Director of Business Services Charles Kellner. Councilor Aaron Dushku said he wanted to push for the most efficient windows, not just more efficient than the old ones, which is a “not a high bar.”

The work will likely be done by 2017, Kellner said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *