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Nine interviewed for School Building Committee

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

LONGMEADOW The Select Board and the School Committee were seeking out Longmeadow's best and brightest for its High School Building Committee, and nine qualified applicants answered their call. They met with the two governing bodies last Monday evening to be interviewed.

The applicants' levels of experience and expertise were varied. Nathan Nadeau was a 2003 graduate of Longmeadow High School who earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration and who minored in construction management.

Conversely, Thomas Ewing has been a resident since 1953 and works as a roof consultant. He's worked on a lot of school buildings, including some in Windsor, Conn., Woburn, Mass., UMass Amherst and is currently working on a project at Springfield Technical Community College.

Members of both the School Committee and the Select Board asked questions of the applicants. Of the nine who were interviewed, three will be chosen for the School Building Committee, with one alternate. The committee will work in collaboration with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) in "all steps and facets" for either a new or renovated high school, according to Select Board member Kathleen Grady.

In addition to the aforementioned applicants, the following were interviewed:

Richard Bistran a 25-year town resident who has worked in the power industry since 1973 and is an engineer. He has also served as a site engineer or a "Mr. Fix It."

John Chipouras a resident for 10 years who sells building supplies from his business in East Longmeadow and attends "a lot of job site meetings." He earned a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from the University of Vermont.

Curt Freedman A 43-year resident, he is a forensic engineer, an engineering consultant and an adjunct professor at Western New England College. He was a member of the high school's renovation task force and has consulted for Springfield schools and other area projects.

Roland Joyal He has three children in the Longmeadow school system and serves as the principal of Chicopee High School (CHS), which was recently built. He said he knows the reality of what works and how to handle budgets the CHS project came in on time and under budget.

Danielle Judge A registered engineer in California and Massachusetts, she has done a lot of work with historic renovations but has no experience with building schools. She has also worked with Apple Computers.

James Simon An 18-year resident, he earned a degree in civil engineering and has "found ways to rebuild things they said couldn't be rebuilt." A stay-at-home dad, he has not done any formal engineering work since 2000.

Mark Sirulnik An architect who works with a firm that specializes in school buildings and helped create Wolf Swamp, Blueberry and the town's original high school. He said the high school "was a great school in 1955."

The applicants were asked what they thought were the biggest problems at the high school. Nearly all said the infrastructure and the space inside. Ewing said his biggest concern with the roof was that it needs slope. Freedman said the ergonomics needed to be addressed. Joyal and Nadeau both noted the need for a modern HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system.

The applicants who will be named to the School Building Committee will be announced at tonight's School Committee meeting at 7:15 p.m.