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August 23, 2013

City eyes shift of West Parish students

Former ITT Rule plant seen as temporary home

A Gloucester School Committee choice to move forward with building on the existing West Parish school site to save money and increase safety will force a relocation of pupils for two full years beginning in September 2014 to a site the city has yet to pin down.

But officials are talking about moving students to a building in the Cape Ann Industrial Park.

Owners of the former ITT Rule building on Kondelin Road, located within two miles of West Parish, responded to the city’s request for proposals with an offer of their property, which presents itself as a large open space with a parking lot, but no existing playground area.

The City’s Chief Administrative Officer Jim Duggan said Thursday that the city is considering “all options,” though it is not considering a temporary move into the former Fuller School because of what he classified as the $5 million cost of repairs to bring the building up to the Americans with Disabilities Act’s accessibility code.

“We’re leaving all doors open and we’re exploring every single opportunity that there is,” Duggan said.

The School Committee had decided to build on the existing West Parish site after finding it more cost effective, safer, and a more efficient use of space than an alternative of building a school in front of or behind the existing building, then tearing down the current school at the new school’s completion.

The deadline to respond to a request for proposals that the city distributed last week, originally set for mid-September, was re-slated for Nov. 8 to encourage additional applications. The city is seeking a three-year lease with a one-year renewal option at a space that would accommodate both the estimated 380 West Parish students and the facilities department, which is currently located at the Fuller school building.

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