Notes from the July 26, 2012 Dudley Vision Advisory Task Force Meeting

Notes from the July 26, 2012 Dudley Vision Advisory Task Force Meeting, 6:00 p.m. at Central Boston Elder Services Building Community Room –2315 Washington Street, Roxbury.

Ronn Garry, co-chairperson, announced the protocol and objectives for the meeting. There would be a single topic: Programming and occupancy of the new Dudley Municipal facility by BPS and related organizations. The meeting would start with a presentation from Carleton Jones, Executive Director, Facilities Management, Boston Public Schools. Questions from DVATF members would be fielded, followed by open questions from community members.

Ronn Garry noted that in response to the DVATF’s earlier request, the Public Facilities Department has retained a firm, MORE Advertising, as communications coordinator for the project. Donna Gittens of MORE Advertising will be the lead. Ms. Gittens could not attend this meeting, but the firm was represented at the meeting by Judi Haber, a firm partner.

It was acknowledged that City Councilor Tito Jackson was in attendance at the meeting.

A question was raised about presenting the project financing at an upcoming meeting, if the DVATF could include it in a future agenda. The City’s project team was amenable, and deferred to the DVATF to schedule it.

Mr. Jones began his presentation by noting that generally the department and BPS unit layouts have been set on each floor. He presented a sequence of floor by floor slides that demonstrated the open office style of workstations interspersed with collaboration space in the upper floors. Mr. Jones also pointed out the retail, public lobby space, and community spaces in the facility that could be available for temporary use by community organizations. DVATF_Mtg_07.26.12_Dudley_Municipal_Ctr_Presentation_BPS_Program
In response to questions from earlier meetings about how the community spaces could be used in the facility. Mr. Jones noted that he researched the BPS process for permitting the use of community space in BPS facilities. There is a process in place that community groups have been using successfully for years. It involves completing a form available on the BPS website and applying for a particular space at a particular time for a specified duration. Requests are reviewed and if acceptable, temporary use is granted. The system is not intended to create tenancy but a license to temporarily use publicly available space. The Dudley Municipal Center would adopt this protocol within the framework of an independent facility manager that is to be selected by an upcoming RFP process.

It was noted that the BPS has neither the inclination nor the process in place to create exclusive use of the space for any particular group. In response to a proposal from a community group, Mr. Jones emphasized that BPS is interested in the idea of a hands-on learning lab that could introduce students to science, technology, and manufacturing, but a permanent installation is not a fit with the sixth floor of the new BPS administration building. Mr. Jones noted that there may be other locations where a learning lab might be a better fit, and BPS would be willing to explore options.

After a question from a DVATF member, it was noted that there may be a possibility of having “after work hours” access and use of the space, but it was too early to commit in detail. It was also noted that the 6th floor roof deck and public space might be made available

In response to a question from a DVATF member, Mr. Jones noted that BPS could attempt to develop an online system of reservation of public space to make it easier for community groups to understand how to use BPS facilities.

Mr. Jones fielded a question from a community member: Could BPS consider granting management rights to a single group in selected public space in the facility—for example the sixth floor public space? This could allow a selected group to then confer use of the space to others, and allow other groups to access and temporarily use the public space. Mr. Jones explained that BPS is not seeking tenants, and that within the framework of an independent facility manager that will be hired, BPS would make its own decisions on the temporary uses of community space.

It was noted that if a group desired a tenancy in the building, it might be possible to apply for tenancy in the ground-floor retail space. There would still need to be discussion to determine if that would be allowable or feasible.

There was a question about the recent Landmarks Commission proceedings. Tom Leahy, Senior Project Manager at the Public Facilities Department noted that at the Boston Landmarks Commission hearing earlier in the week, there was a review of masonry details and a favorable decision on the design.

The next DVATF Meeting is tentatively scheduled for September 27th, with a DVATF Workshop on September 13th.

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