The Hardy, Hunnewell and Upham Master Planning Committee has published its report to the School Committee, and it recommends getting funding to study the feasibility of building new schools at the Hardy, Hunnewell and Upham sites — but not in that order.
A motion to recommend that a new school be built first at the Hardy site on Weston Road failed, but one to build first at the Upham site passed. The Hunnewell site would be up next, and then the Hardy site would come third if enrollment numbers warrant doing so.
The HHU leanings of School Committee members was a hot topic during the recent election cycle.
In making its recommendations, the Master Planning Committee weighed the public’s desire to maintain “small, neighborhood schools,” the substantial cost of building new schools, and the need to build new schools rather than refurbish existing ones.
“The HHU MPC members believe that if enrollment declines as presently predicted by the demographers, then two consolidated schools of 19-sections each will provide sufficient capacity to replace the three HHU schools, which are respectively 15, 15, and 12-section schools. If and when enrollment increases, however, then the HHU MPC recommends that the town build the third school following construction of the first and second schools, especially in light of the strong support within the community for maintaining all seven elementary schools in town. It is important to note that even if the HHU MPC had recommended building three schools regardless of enrollment trends, given the current swing space constraints, the schools would be built one at a time.”