Project Need

Project Need

The Town of Millis/MSBA-funded project at the Clyde F. Brown School (CFB) is based on two major issues:

1.   Significant building and system-related repairs and replacements that need to occur at the CFB

2.   Overcrowding in both schools 

The district, in partnership with the community through capital funding, has worked very hard to maintain a safe and healthy school building. Even with excellent maintenance overcrowding and time has taken its toll on this facility to the point that these issues compel the school community to address the problems through renewal and revitalization.

Potential solutions are:

1.  Renew major portions of the existing building of which some are almost sixty years old.

2.  Replace building systems or components that are failing or beyond their useful life. Upgrade or install new systems that will be state of the art for education, health, environment, and life safety.

3.  Eliminate overcrowding by bringing the fifth grade back to a renovated CFB elementary facility.

Although both schools could benefit from a renovation, a project at CFB and the potential relocation of a grade or other specialized services will address the need to replace major building systems while also easing the population burden at the Middle School/High School (MSHS.) 

Issue #1 - Need for Renovation/Repair at the Clyde F. Brown School

The Clyde F. Brown School was built in 1954 and additional space was added in 1991.  Many of the major building systems and components have reached the end of their useful life. The core building components and infrastructure such as heating, ventilating, cooling, life safety, temperature control, electrical and plumbing are all in need of major repair or full replacement. The district, in partnership with the community, has worked very hard to maintain a safe and healthy school building through capital funding on warrant articles. Those efforts have allowed the facility to remain usable for many years without major capital investment.  The age of the largest building systems, and the span of time since new systems were installed, has made the need to replace or repair these systems a priority.

The necessary repairs at CFB need to take place within the next 2-5 years. The cost of these repairs will be brought to the community as part of the MSBA project.  Should the project not receive approval the Town will still be faced with providing the funding for these repairs at 100% of the repair cost.  A listing of only the high priority repairs, sorted based on highest to lowest cost estimates, is provided below along with estimated costs:

•  HVAC – The current HVAC systems are at the end of their design life.  In addition, components of the system are installed in relatively unserviceable locations making maintenance difficult and dangerous.  Heating capacity in the existing system is for less than the current code required air contributing to problems heating the building.

    o    Estimated repair/replacement cost                     $1,670,000

•   Roof replacement – The roof at CFB has been problematic for years.  In 2006 a full study of the roof was completed which recommended full replacement.  That was unable to be funded and repairs have been ongoing.  Leaks continue to be a major issue throughout the school and have been addressed as they occur.  Determining the source of the leaks is challenging based on the method of original construction, particularly in the 1954 portion of the building.  The current roof also only has 1.5” – 2” of rigid insulation, which is less than what current energy codes require.                 

    o   Estimated replacement cost                                 $    763,000

•   Fire/Life Safety - CFB’s systems are outdated and current systems provide capabilities necessary to protect the staff, students and facility.  Replacement of the intercom system will make it safer for staff and children who rely on this key component for life safety. Replacing the fire alarm system with a modem addressable system will eliminate nuisance tripping and evacuation of the building. Installing a sprinkler system for fire suppression is needed to add further protection for life, safety and prevent loss of physical plant.

     o   Estimated repair/replacement cost                     $    453,000

•  Accessibility/Code Requirements – The ADA requirements for entry to the building are not currently compliant with ADA requirements.  Internal facilities also do not comply with current ADA requirements.  Sinks are not at ADA compliant height, no wheelchair accessibility exists in the cafetorium and restroom facilities are not ADA compliant.

      o   Estimated repair/replacement cost                     $    438,000

• Boilers – The current boiler plant has energy code minimum efficiency issues.  Boilers have leakage and corrosion damage and at 25 years old are at the end of their useful life.

      o   Estimated repair/replacement cost                     $    380,000

•     Plumbing – Current plumbing throughout the school is not compliant with current code requirements.  Many fixtures are at an inappropriate height for the students to safely and comfortably use.  

      o   Estimated repair/replacement cost                     $    185,000

•               Total          $3,889,000

The costs above only address the urgent system needs at CFB and do not address facility needs that allow for adequate space to accommodate traditional and special education programming needs. 


Issue #2 - Overcrowding in the Millis Public Schools

The Clyde F. Brown School and the Middle School/High School are overcrowded. This situation severely disrupts the educational process at both schools. It impairs effective scheduling and results in oversized classes and limits course offerings. 


CFB is both undersized and overcrowded.  In addition CFB lacks appropriate spaces for required special education services.  CFB was built to accommodate 600 K-5 students.  The fifth grade was moved to the MSHS in 2001 to free up regular classroom space.  At the time of the 2013 SOI submission the enrollment at CFB was 645 Pre-K-4 students, 45 students over the capacity for the school. The move of the fifth grade to Middle School/High School, while assisting in easing the overcrowding at CFB caused an overcrowding issue in that building as it is undersized as well. Enrollment at the Middle/High School is 843, 10-15% over capacity.


At Clyde F. Brown while, there are just enough general purpose classrooms, most of them are undersized.  Typical classrooms in CFB are 780 square feet, compared to the MSBA’s guideline of 900-1,000 square feet. Typical Kindergarten rooms at CFB are 780 square feet compared to the MSBA’s guidelines of 1,100-1,300 square feet.  The space utilization challenges at Clyde F. Brown are exacerbated by a lack of special education therapy, counseling, classroom, and small group instructional spaces.


To address overcrowding at the CFB storage areas and individual offices have been converted into instructional spaces.  Forty percent of the library was repurposed for instruction, and one full size classroom had to be subdivided into additional classroom spaces. Occupational and physical therapies programs share space in the music room and music classes must sometimes use the stage in the cafetorium.


The space constraints at the Middle/High School are directly related to a shortage of general purpose classrooms. Comparing classroom counts in the school to the MSBA’s recommended classroom space, the building’s general purpose classrooms are at least 3-5 classrooms (or 10-15%) over capacity.

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