Common Ground Board Meeting – May 2014 – Minutes

Present: Frank Mitchell, Bob Parker, Michael Doolittle, Kim Futrell, Miranda Bailey, Claudia Merson, John Jessen, Joel Tolman, Liz Cox, Melissa Spear, Betsy Sneath, Kimball Cartwright, Rebecca Holcombe

Regrets: Ben Gardner, Wendy Battles, Jane Lee

Tour of site: Members took a quick walk around the construction site with a stop to view the water garden/wetlands dedicated to Javier.

Minutes:  Bob made the motion to approve the minutes and Claudia’s was the second voice. Discussion included a correction in the review of the construction (general trades estimate). The members affirmed the minutes.

Healthy food certification: Betsy introduced this annual certification request. We commit to serving healthy snacks, we don’t have a store, and we serve healthy food at our events. Mike made the motion to renew our healthy food certification and Kim was the second. The board voted to renew the certification.

Invoices: Melissa reviewed the current invoices requiring board approval: Newfield for pre-construction services that cover the bid process, $21,375 and $3,625. Miranda moved the motion to pay and Mike was the second.  The discussion included a recap of plans for the changes to this bid process like a required building orientation with Alan for those planning to bid and Newfield organizes all that. The board approved the motion to pay invoices.

Building update:  Melissa read the TD Bank construction loan letter drafted by Jim Whitney.  Mike made motion to affirm the letter and Bob’s voice was second.  There was a clarification to specify executive director and the board affirmed the letter.

The value engineering update on the design continues. $200,000 in value-engineered savings has been identified with updates like a different siding or insulation. There may be another $100,000 savings possible from this review. But there also must be some revision of the specs to reduce the amount of custom work needed. We may also move some general trades work over to Bensonwood for pre fab production in New Hampshire. These processes may save $500,000 to $750,000.

Common Ground team has worked with the NH delegation to find some other revenue.  They are considering the urban act grant, which has a couple routes to financing: a legislative recommendation or the president pro tem can make a request to governor to place the item on bond agenda. The TD Bank loan commitment letter has arrived for the $750,000 construction loan with $400,000 amortized into a 15-year loan.

Budget: The institution proposed budget for 2014-2015 at this point has $100,000 deficit in the depreciation category and $50,000 to be raised in unidentified grants.  The goal will be to continue the campaign momentum in the area of major gifts particularly.  The transition has some complications including the vagaries of foundation interests, retirements, new staff, benefits, the cleaning service, etc. Members will review the document for approval in June. There will be choices and institutional capacity must guide whatever decisions are made once the building is finished.  An example, Rebecca noted—during her program update— is the program possibility with home school families.  Increasing is a goal but must be balanced reasonably with current commitments and monitored for the point when it is feasible.

Community Programs: Rebecca also noted that the camp season was ramping up as school ends and the site is in transition. Some 125 spaces remain in the camp schedule if we encounter people still planning kids’ summers.

School: Liz also noted the end of the year and a packed calendar with prom, envirothon, the wetland dedication, a power assembly, Melvin and Marvin farewell lunch, details of state tests, end of year projects, class trips, and Green Jobs transitions for a good number of students. Graduation is pending and we may have another educator evaluation plan to approve at a future meeting. A safety and security plan will need approval for July 1 too.

Campaign: Kimball’s chart suggested a near finish for the campaign. He also showed Common Ground’s page in the Inner City thanks to Babz. We’ll soon be finalizing details on transitioning the campaign. Joel presented the report card (see document) and members were reminded to RSVP for Common Table.


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