Bemis donation largest gift to date

SHIRLEY -- The Ayer-Shirley Regional School Committee expressed gratitude for the school district's largest single donation from a private company to date, $50,000 from Bemis Associates, based in Shirley.

ASRSD Finance Director Evan Katz said that the donation is "just one of a number of ways that Bemis helps Ayer-Shirley," through its goals to support social welfare, health, education, and cultural and civic programs.

"This (donation) is a great opportunity for elementary after-school programs," said Ayer-Shirley Superintendent Carl Mock. "Bemis is the largest source of funding for that."

Bemis Associates Inc., a leading manufacturer of heat seal films for the apparel and footwear industries, has also funded the security system for Page Hilltop Elementary School in Ayer, the replacement of half of the high school football field bleachers in need of repair, field trips, "and a variety of things -- all very good stuff we would otherwise be doing without," said Mock at the June 19 school committee meeting.

Bemis employees provide hundreds of hours of volunteer service to the community through the company's community service program. Bemis also supports a wide array of non-profit organizations and ongoing community activities.

A recent example is the June 1 "1st Annual Bemis Associates 5K Walk & Run" in Shirley, which, in its first year, will benefit the Ayer-Shirley Regional High School Cross-Training Program.


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The funds raised will go towards the purchase of speed ladders, medicine balls, plyometric boxes, parachutes, cardio watches, and jump ropes for the high school.

Summer logistics regarding school construction outlined

Although construction has begun on the Ayer-Shirley Regional High School construction project, there was a delay in the demolition of the old academic wing, which is finally underway.

According to ASRSD Superintendent Carl Mock, the logistics for the summer include the inaccessibility of the school parking lot. Any parents visiting the school over the summer will go to the adjacent Page Hilltop Elementary School (PHT), and all summer high school activities will go either to PHT, the Ayer-Shirley Regional Middle School in Shirley, or another community. This includes recreational events.

"But we expect to be up and ready by the time school starts," Mock said.

In the meantime, the administrative offices have been moved to different areas, including that of the superintendent, which is now at Page Hilltop. Some telephone extensions have been changed, and the official street address of the school district is also likely to change.

On the topic of construction, Mock cited a meeting scheduled for the next evening to hear about the 60 percent reconciled estimate pricing and Value Engineering (VE) list by Consigli Construction. VE is an organized effort to analyze the functions of systems, equipment, facilities, services and supplies for the purpose of achieving the essential functions at the lowest life cycle cost.

Mock said that the day had been spent reconciling the design team versus construction management firm estimates.

"We're quite close, but there are some discrepancies in the details," he said. "We're over budget, not unusual, but will hear tomorrow evening by how much, and next week on Thursday night we will hear about how to bring the budget back in line. That process will happen again at 90 percent completion of the construction documents."

He said that major subcontractor trade bids were expected to go out in the fall.

Thus far there has been a lot of site work, and demolition began within days of the June 19 school committee meeting.

Thank you to retiring teachers

Prior to adjourning to go into executive session to discuss collective bargaining negotiations, school committee member Joyce Reischutz reiterated the committee's thanks to retiring Page Hilltop health teacher Shari Matthews, physical education teacher Mary Palmer and Lura A. White Elementary third-grade teacher Cathy Nacke for their many years of service to their students and the school community.

-- Dina Samfield