Wellesley North 40 safe from school swing space for now

The Board of Selectmen on Monday had a brief discussion about whether the North 40 property might be an option for housing modular classrooms while the Hunnewell Elementary School is renovated or rebuilt, and members unanimously agreed that the site would be inappropriate at least in the near term.

Selectmen Tom Ulfelder introduced the subject of using the North 40 as such swing space for classrooms just to get it on record as the Hardy-Hunnewell-Upham (HHU) elementary school plan evolves. Having the discussion could benefit the School Building Committee, School Committee and public at large, he said. (The School Building Committee in the past has said that the North 40 was not being considered.)

wellesley north 40 trail
The North 40: Looks like a pretty nice classroom, actually, without the modulars


“The thinking has been that the location of modulars for swing space on the North 40 would require some level of clearing of trees,” including to get utilities onto the property, Ulfelder said. Without having a clearer vision for how the North 40 will or won’t be developed, it would be impossible to say where such modulars could be situated. While the North 40 option has been a reasonable thing to ask about, he said the reasonable answer is that the North 40 is not a good option at least for now.

Fellow BoS member Marjorie Freiman added that without knowing which half of the land would be designated for open space, it would not be possible to determine where modulars could be located.

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BoS Chairman Jack Morgan said “the traffic challenges on Weston Road are very strong and I just don’t think this is a viable plan to consider.”

Beth Sullivan Woods noted that the space would seem like an even less viable option in light of the town’s purchase of land behind Hardy Elementary School.

Other options for swing space that have been discussed include within other schools or on other school property, or on the Hunnewell school property itself.

See the discussion via Wellesley Public Media’s recording, at about the 1-hour mark. It only lasts for about 6 minutes.

Sprague School swings now
Not this kind of swing space…