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Rental of Memorial School will cost $17,000 per month

Date: 2/21/2011

Feb. 21, 2011

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

EAST LONGMEADOW — The East Longmeadow School Department is continuing to work on a plan of action for Mapleshade Elementary School, after agreeing upon a lease with the town of Wilbraham to use the Memorial School.

According to East Long-meadow Superintendent Gordon Smith, the two sides agreed on a $17,000 per month rental agreement, which will allow Mapleshade students to remain in their temporary home through the end of the current school year.

"The number represents the cost to continue to run the utilities, such as the heating, electricity, phone and such," Smith said. "Basically, Wilbraham should not incur any extra expense because of this."

East Longmeadow is also responsible for any accumulated costs associated with classroom set up.

"Anything needed to get us back into a regular school setting," Smith explained.

Smith also said the rent and expenses will not come out of the East Longmeadow School Department's budget.

"Right now we're working with the insurance company," Smith said. "With the claim, there's an area for additional costs we will have to bear as a result of the problems we have had with the Mapleshade school building. There is a certain amount of money for those kinds of costs."

As for the repairs to the building, Smith said the school department is still working with the structural engineer from Tighe and Bond, as well as another engineer recommended by the company whose expertise is in wood structures and buildings with wood beams.

In addition to the cafeteria, which suffered cracks in the supporting arches, they are keeping an eye on the integrity of the arches in the gymnasium, which features the same architecture. At this time, there have been no further issues, Smith said.

Smith lauded the way all involved with the effort have been able to make a relatively seamless transition.

"Monday was kind of a different routine for the students, but we had a regular school routine in place by Tuesday," Smith said. "I'm so impressed to see how well everyone — not only the students and parents, but the staff, as well — was able to adapt and make the transition so easily. It's really impressive."

Smith also said the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District have been gracious hosts.

"We were greeted at Memorial School by the superintendent and the assistant superintendent Monday morning," Smith said. "And throughout the day, principals from other schools were coming by with pictures from their students and flowers welcoming us. It's been an incredible experience."

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