Select Board Reviews Killam Project

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Reading, MA — After the Select Board welcomed new member Melissa Murphy to the board, Killam School Building Project (KSBC) Manager Jenni Katajamaki provided an update to the board regarding the Killam School Building project. She shared that the current building, built in 1968, has undersized program areas, including a gymnasium that is half the size it should be. It has outdated building systems and does not meet current standards for seismic or energy efficiency requirements, including no insulation in the walls of the building. She also noted that the interiors of the building are at the end of their useful life as well.

The project team has developed nine options with two and three-story alternatives that combine partial, no demolition, or extensive demolition of the current building. The options also combine plans for four or twelve RISE preschool classrooms in the new building. Traffic studies have informed choices for new traffic patterns on the site as well as recommendations for the surrounding areas. Katajamaki also mentioned that the Massachusetts School Building Authority will add a percentage to its reimbursement of the project for meeting various energy efficiency goals. If the project holds to its current schedule and is approved by Town Meeting and the voters, it could be completed by 2028.


After a question from Select Board member Mark Dockser, KSBC chair Carla Nazzaro shared that a range of costs for construction to help determine a final proposal should be available in August. Nazzaro continued sharing that there will be no complete project cost number until next spring. The KSBC will continue to hold community outreach and planning meetings throughout the summer.

During public comment, resident Carolyn Johnson called for Select Board member Chris Haley to apologize to Dockser for his comments in which he alleged Dockser was involved in the events leading to the resignation of former chair Jackie McCarthy. Haley responded during his liaison reports, stating, “I stand by each and everything I have said on the Select Board. I regret nothing.” He continued to mention that the only vote he regretted was the designating of parking spaces on Main Street for electric vehicle parking. He then restated his belief that “what happened to [McCarthy] should never happen to anyone.”

The Select Board recognized three Eagle Scouts, Nicholas Belous, Jeffrey Lonks, and Charles Mace, for their achievements and declared the week of May 19 as EMS week and June as Pride Month in Reading. The board also voted 3-2 to select resident Sanford Matathin as the resident representative on the Community Preservation Act Advisory Committee. Bacci and member Murphy were the dissenting votes. 

The board also voted 5-0 to approve the non-union classification and compensation plan for Fiscal Year 2025. Town Manager Matt Kraunelis noted that the plan reflects what was voted in the FY 2025 budget by Town Meeting.

Returning to a topic from a few weeks ago, the board voted 4-1 to appoint police Lieutenant Richard Abate to the Retirement Board. Herrick was the dissenting vote, favoring Library Director Amy Lannon for the appointment. The board also reorganized its liaison assignments.

The Select Board adjourned at 9:45 pm.

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