Parmenter School Analysis

At the January 22nd Building Committee meeting, the committee further discussed the results of the Parmenter space and cost analysis performed by HMFH Architects. After reviewing the study results and a discussion of the pros and cons, the Building Committee voted to use the Parmenter School only as a temporary location for Menotomy Preschool during construction of AHS and not for permanent relocation of either the preschool or the district administration offices.

As part of the AHS Building Project, the Building Committee directed HMFH Architects to perform a space and cost analysis on the feasibility of the following uses of the Parmenter School:

  • Temporary location for Menotomy Preschool during AHS construction
  • Permanent location for the school district administration offices

Later, the study was expanded to analyze Parmenter as a permanent location for Menotomy Preschool.

Located on Irving Street, the Parmenter School is a former Arlington elementary school which was closed in 1983 when enrollment declined. The Town still owns the building, but since its closure, it has been leased to the Arlington Children’s Center preschool and other educational institutions.

The table below summarizes the costs from the study.

Estimated Cost for
Permanent Relocation
to Parmenter School
Estimated Cost to
Include in New AHS
Menotomy Preschool
Construction
Cost
$11,000,000 Construction
Cost
$11,200,000
Lost Rent (ACC)* $400,000 Temp. Parmenter
Renovation
$2,300,000
Total $11,400,000 Total $13,500,000
District Administration
Construction
Cost
$7,800,000 Construction
Cost
$5,800,000
Swing Space in
Downs House
$1,000,000
Total $8,800,000 Total $5,800,000

Note: The above numbers do not include soft costs.  *Rent is for the remainder of the lease.

The Building Committee determined that the benefit to keeping Menotomy Preschool and the school district administration offices at AHS outweighed the ramifications of moving either program permanently to the Parmenter School.

The following reasons were cited:

  • In order to have enough space for the Menotomy Preschool program, the Town would need full use of the Parmenter School building and would need to break the lease of the current tenant (Arlington Children’s Center) in June 2019 forcing them to move.
  • Even with use of the entire building, there would not be enough classroom space to support the preschool’s expected growth and thereby accommodate all students who require mandated services.
  • There are educational benefits to maintaining the preschool location at AHS, allowing high school students to continue hands-on work for Early Childhood Development courses.
  • Relocating the preschool permanently to Parmenter eliminates potential MSBA reimbursement. 
  • The cost to renovate Parmenter for permanent school district administration use was more expensive than including the offices in the AHS project.
  • Due to construction schedules, permanent use of Parmenter for district administration offices would require an additional $1.2M in temporary swing space costs during construction and would also require the preschool to be located at AHS for part of the construction, against best practice recommendation.
  • Keeping both the preschool and district administration offices at AHS provides future flexibility should the AHS student population grow significantly and additional space be needed.

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