Welcome to Citizens for Concord Middle School

We are a group of concerned Concordians who want to ensure the design of the proposed Concord Middle School meets the needs of both our students and our community for education, the arts, and athletics. After constructing three new elementary schools and a new high school, this is Concord’s last chance to “get it right”. We are currently in the final stages of the conceptual design phase, so the decisions that are made throughout the end of March and beginning of April are critical.

Please educate yourself on the site, and be sure to fill out the new middle school survey here. It’s important to do this even if you have already e-mailed the various committees.

Key facts:

  • The Education Plan that supports the building design can be found here.
  • There is a website for the CMS Building Project here.
  • The CMSBC Presentations page lists all of the latest design presentations.
  • The budget for the project is currently set at $80M to $100M, at a cost of about $550/sq. ft. Other MA middle school building construction information can be found here.
  • The needs of the town may require this budget to be increased by 5% – 10%. This equates to an additional $25-$50/year on average to each household tax bill.
  • There is an impermeable surface bylaw that limits the footprint of the building without a variance, but we have been informed by both the ZBA and Planning Division that a variance is feasible.
  • Any potential budget increases will require strong public support from YOU!

The design that was approved by the CMSBC includes a 7,000 sq. ft. gym space and a 275-seat auditorium, both of which are less space that the current two-building CMS configuration. This web site was created by constituencies in the arts and athletics communities to explain why both of these spaces are insufficient, what the needs of the students and community are with respect to each space, and describe things you can do as a concerned citizen to make your voice heard.

The Gymnasium

Peabody and Sanborn consist of two gymnasiums with 9,600 sq. ft. The approved CMS building design includes a single 7,000 sq. ft. space, including a single MIAA-regulation basketball court. This means that girls and boys basketball teams will not be able to practice at the same time, as they do today, and will have an impact on transportation for METCO families whose kids participate in after-school winter athletics. Did you know that Concord has the highest student to court gym ratio of most neighboring towns? Read more about the gymnasium space, and how it can also positively impact CCHS sports here.

Sign our petition for a larger gymnasium space at Change.org.

The Auditorium

The arts are a key part of the middle school experience, and Concord has been fortunate to have exceptional music and theater programs. The current Sanborn auditorium space has capacity for 350 people, and most performances are standing-room only. The approved CMS building design only has enough seats for 275 people (a single grade, not including parents), which significantly limits the use of the space. Read more about the auditorium space here.

What Can I Do?

There are some key things you can do to show your support:

  • E-mail the CMS Building Committee, School Committee, Select Board, and Finance Committee. Let them know that you support a right-sized gymnasium and/or auditorium, and that you are are willing to go beyond the $100M threshold if that is what is required. See talking points and sample e-mail content below.
  • Join the CMS Building Facebook group at “Concord Parents Supporting a New CMS Building”.
  • Attend the following committee meetings and voice your support:

Key Talking Points

There are a few key things to communicate when discussing the building design, especially in committee meetings and public forums:

  • We need to construct a building that meets the needs of the community. This is our last chance to get it right.
  • While the budget presented to the town was $80-$100M, we are willing to entertain higher dollar amounts if the facilities are built with the needs of the community in mind.
  • The gymnasium should be sized so that two teams can practice at the same time, preferably to MIAA-regulation standards. This will also benefit CCHS athletics and Concord Recreation programming.
  • The auditorium should be sized to hold at least a single grade and parents, with the ability to host theater productions without having to move sets to CCHS.
  • Arts and athletics play a critical role in our kids’ mental health and we should make appropriate investments in these facilities in the same way we do the academic spaces.
  • Other similar construction (Natick Middle School in particular) were built significantly under budget, with more features AND at a lower cost per square foot.
  • We need to understand the tradeoffs that are being made between energy efficiency spend and facilities like the auditorium and gymnasium.

Or cut and paste the following e-mail (edit as you see fit):

To the Select Board, Finance Committee, and Middle School Building Committee,

I am writing to voice my support for the Concord Middle School Project. While I understand that the expectation has been set for an expenditure of $80M – $100M, I feel it is more important to construct a building that fully meets the needs of the Concord community in terms of educational spaces, arts, and athletics. I support a larger gymnasium in which two teams can practice simultaneously on two regulation basketball courts. I also support a larger auditorium that can host a single grade and their parents, and also offer theater productions that do not require moving sets to CCHS.

I have been a resident of Concord for XX years, and have/had XX children in the Concord school system. Given that this is the last school building to be built in the town, we need it to have facilities that can support the needs of our kids and community over the long term. If that means adding $5M – $10M in expenditure, I believe that is an investment worth making.

Sincerely,

{Resident Name}

{Resident Address}