At the September 9th School Committee (SC) meeting, SC Secretary Sharon Gray gave an update on the latest progress toward building a new Hunnewell Elementary School. Gray said that SMMA architecture firm team members gave a detailed public presentation of the civil engineering aspect of the Hunnewell project at a Planning Board meeting the previous day. Major talking points were water and sewer systems; traffic and parking; site circulation; utilities, drainage, and pretty much any other nuts-and-bolts building topic you could come up with.
The next meeting about the process, which will also be a public hearing, is October 5. Details to follow.
Hardy/Upham—swing space discussion
Although the School Building Committee has not yet put forth its recommendation for which of two elementary schools — Hardy or Upham — should be replaced, swing space discussions continue to loom large.
Of the three possibilities Gray reviewed, the most likely plan of action will be to build behind whichever school will be replaced. In this scenario, students would simply use the current Hardy or Upham school as swing space until construction on the new school is completed. Doing so would cause the fewest disruptions to students and families. In addition, there would be no expected scheduling impact for the project, which is expected to break ground in summer of 2023.
Anther plan discussed was creating a “mod farm” (a school made up of modular classrooms) sited at Hardy or Sprague. But at an estimated additional cost of $7 million dollars for a solution that doesn’t even include a cafeteria or a gym, that seems unlikely to happen. Also unlikely to come to pass would be the use of internal swing space after Hunnewell School’s expected 2024 completion. Such a plan would delay the Hardy or Upham School’s completion by one year.
Superintendent David Lussier appeared to favor building behind whichever school will be replaced, saying, “The goal is to create the fewest transitions for kids. Educationally, we’ve committed ourselves to reduce those transitions as much as we can.”
Upcoming important dates:
School Building Committee meeting: Friday, Sept, 11, 5pm
See the agenda
Please email the SBC for a Zoom link to participate in public comment: SBC@wellesleyma.gov
The meeting will be live streamed via Wellesley Public Media
School Building Committee Hardy/Upham Webinar Community Forum: Thur., Sept. 17 at 7pm. Residents who wish to participate in the webinar must use this form to register in advance and receive the Zoom link.
The forum will be broadcast live by Wellesley Media on Comcast Channel 8 and Verizon Channel 40, and live streamed on the Wellesley Media Government Channel.
School Building Committee decision on new school site, Sept. 24
Details to follow
Casey Rogers says
By the School committee going on record that they want a Hardy or Upham site that avoids swing space, then they are saying that the only Upham site acceptable would be one that requires blasting of the 7-acre forest behind the current school. And if that’s the case a big group of Upham neighbors have hired a lawyer and engineering firm to
oppose any such blasting and construction. So the question is: is the SBC gonna move forward with an Upham option even though the School Committee doesn’t want swing space and the neighbors are poised to sue to stop it?
The SBC meetings have gotten pretty tense for Wellesley and we now have neighbors lawyering up against the town to stop a build on Upham. Citizens suing the Town? Is that where we are?