The Board of Selectmen (BOS) will convene a Special Town Meeting (STM) on Monday, Dec. 9 at the Wellesley Middle School Auditorium, 50 Kingsbury St., at 7pm. The major topic: to discuss the Hunnewell School building project. The warrant was posted on Nov. 6 at Town Hall.
Town meeting members will be asked to vote on whether to allocate $5 million for design development funds for the Hunnewell Elementary School construction project.
In June 2018, Town meeting members voted to OK $1 million for a Hunnewell feasibility study put together by Compass Project Management. The study examined the question of whether the 80-year-old school could be renovated. The study was completed in March 2019 and determined that a renovation was not feasible due to structural problems with the school. Specifically, the study found that the HVAC systems are beyond their life expectancy; code deficiencies exist throughout the facility; and an antiquated and inefficient control system can’t maintain temperature appropriately throughout the building.
Hunnewell Elementary School is a 36,000 square-foot, one-level, 15-classroom building that currently holds 260 students. If Town Meeting approves the design development funds, a plan will be put together by Compass for a new 75,000 square-foot, two-story, 19-classroom building that will educate 350 – 375 students, with a maximum capability of 400 -425 students.
Not everyone agrees that the design should go forward
A ballot question proposal for the 2020 annual Town election has been submitted to the BOS. The proposed text reads, “Do you believe the Town of Wellesley should keep our current seven neighborhood elementary school model by rebuilding and/or renovating the Hardy, Hunnewell and Upham Elementary Schools, instead of closing one school and redistricting all of our elementary students into six schools? Please vote YES or NO.”
Wellesley’s seven elementary schools are: Bates, Fiske, Hardy, Hunnewell, Schofield, Sprague, and Upham.
The following schools are not currently under discussion for closing or for major renovation: Bates, Fiske, Schofield, and Sprague.
If the BOS agrees that this question should be put to voters, it would appear at the polls on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.