2005-12-15 / News

Council reviews new rules for school gym use

The Town Council Monday briefly reviewed, with little comment, the School Committee’s agreement about joint town and school use of the Lawn Avenue School gymnasium and all the ball fields adjacent to the Lawn and Melrose schools.

The agreement was outlined in a letter from School Superintendent Katherine Sipala on behalf of the committee. The gym and field use and maintenance has been discussed in recent months at both town and school meetings.

In her letter,Sipala said that school officials appreciate the leadership of Councilman William Kelly on the issues and the work of Town Solicitor Lauriston Parks, who last month issued a ruling about the specific responsibilities the town and the schools had for the ball fields. In the past, many had considered those responsibilities vague or inconsistent. Generally, Parks’ ruling said that land near the schools was the responsibility of the schools, but the athletic fields, skate park and basketball courts were under the jurisdiction of the town, and essentially the responsibility of the Department Parks and Recreation.

Sipala wrote that the School Committee has agreed to waive the cleaning fee that it started several years ago for the recreation department’s use of the Lawn Avenue School gymnasium. The committee specified the schedule it would maintain for cleaning the gym, and requested that the town adopt the rules it was suggesting for users of the gym. The rules included scheduling forms, opening and locking the gym, optional cleanups when the school would not be responsible, and closing by 10:15 every night. The rules also prohibit no food or drink, except water, in the gym, and require payment for any damage that occurs.

The School Committee asked the town to work with the school on installing and maintaining the fitness trail equipment it has. The School Committee members are eager to develop a master plan for the entire property and have preliminary ideas from local landscape architect Arek Galle, but they have been unable to fund the project, Sipala wrote.

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