BOE to submit plans for magnet school

By LISA CAPOBIANCO

STAFF WRITER

As part of its application to the state, the Board of Education approved a draft operations plan for the proposed Memorial Boulevard Intradistrict Arts Magnet School (MBIAMS).

During a meeting last Wednesday, board commissioners also unanimously approved the education specifications for MBIAMS, which are due to the state this week, along with the draft operations plan.

Through a lottery system, students in grades six through 12 from Bristol and other surrounding towns would be able to enroll in the magnet school.

Bristol Superinten-dent of Schools Dr. Susan Moreau said the plan entails reconfiguring the current school building, which was built in 1922.

The envisioned renovation plan includes a dance studio, a music suite for instrumental and choral music instruction, a fine arts area and a science, engineering and production studio. The theater also will undergo a renovation.

Other parts of the renovation plan include 16 core academic classrooms, including two that will be designated for special support services, as well as four science labs and an information resources center.

“The gymnasium is ideal for a black box theater,” said Moreau. “There is enough space requirement that we can add a very large addition onto the building as well.”

While the theater could stand alone in the magnet school, an alternate space will created for the cafeteria. An addition to the building would allow for community use of the theater without entering the classroom area of the school, as stated in the document that outlined the education specifications for MBIAMS.

Moreau said this would be similar to the way in which the Bushnell uses its café.

“We would limit access into the building, and that area could stand alone,” said Moreau.

To date, nearly 400 Bristol students leave the community to attend magnet schools throughout the state. According to the education specifications for MBIAMS, the return of these students to Bristol will save the district the tuitions paid to the magnet schools they attend while reducing the state’s transportation cost for each student who returns to their home district.

Board of Education Chairman Chris Wilson said there is an opportunity to modify the drafted documents after the state receives them.

“After these initial plans are submitted, the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) could ask us to modify these plans,” said Wilson.

When DAS representatives took a tour of MBS, added Moreau, they wanted the district to open the pool again. Built adjacent to the school’s gymnasium, the pool was covered over 10 years ago when the drain no longer met code standards. Currently, there is one indoor pool located near the Giammati Little League Center, which is used to capacity with local swim teams and community use.

“They know the community only has one indoor pool, and they think we should have another venue to teach kids how to swim,” said Moreau.

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