I hope everyone is off to a great start across the District. Today is markedly cooler outside and I’m hopeful that the recent stretch of warm weather is finally behind us.
Planning for school facilities work at the elementary level will remain a critical set of activities for us this year and I want to provide a quick update on our status. Last spring, Town Meeting approved funds for a feasibility study at the Hunnewell School that will allow the District to study the site in great detail and begin determining what options we have to build a new school there. That work will take place during this school year and one of the critical questions we need to answer is whether or not there are swing space options on site and/or at other schools that will allow us to move forward with this project. If none of these options are viable, the Hunnewell project will have to be delayed until the completion of the Hardy/Upham project, which may be the only option for swing space outside of Hunnewell.
As for the Hardy/Upham project, we are moving forward with a request for funding feasibility and schematic design at a Special Town Meeting, which will begin on October 2nd. This request will allow the District to perform feasibility studies at both the Hardy and Upham sites. Once a preferred option is determined, these funds would then be used for the schematic design of a new school at that location. As this is an MSBA project, we must adhere to the MSBA timelines and requirements, just as we did when building the new high school.
While both of these elementary projects will be moving forward on separate, parallel tracks, we want a common vision for elementary teaching and learning that will inform the ultimate design of both buildings. To this end, we will be seeking representatives from each of our elementary schools and District departments to engage in an elementary visioning process, which will kick off on October 4th. It’s not often that we have the opportunity to design schools from the ground up, and the voices of educators will be critical as we consider how to translate 21st Century learning into building that will best serve our needs.
Have a great weekend everyone and Shana Tova to our colleagues celebrating Rosh Hashanah on Monday!