I am always amazed at how quickly the fall passes. It has certainly been a busy one. The work the district and the Hunnewell staff have been engaged in around the Hunnewell Feasibility Study has made time fly.
On October 4th, 60-70 educators, administrators, and parents gathered together for an educational visioning session to establish guiding principles that helped shape the conceptual designs of a new Hunnewell. It is no surprise that people want the space inside and outside the building to reinforce the school community. Other guiding principles included space that allows for innovation, space that is flexible, evolving and adaptable, space that encourages indoor/outdoor connectivity, and space that is sustainable.
On November 26th, the Hunnewell staff participated in a second visioning session, where these guiding principles were teased out in a little more detail. The staff had an opportunity to see slides of new buildings across the country. The photos that showcased grade-level neighborhoods with classrooms, common spaces, coat rooms, collaboration spaces, small learning rooms, display cases and quiet spaces excited every staff member in the room. This type of environment shared by students, classroom teachers, special educators, coaches, and other service providers promotes an environment of shared responsibility for student achievement and professional growth. We also loved the opportunity for outdoor classrooms, entrances that offer added security, and a full-size cafetorium and gymnasium that can be community assets. We also had the opportunity to hear from a landscape architect who believes the Fuller Brook should be an integral part of our outdoor environment. She also showed us slides that can be developed for play and quiet.
At this time the architectural firm SMMA has developed ten conceptual plans. Five are addition/renovation designs that incorporate various parts of the 1938 wing and some include the oak tree. The other five are new construction designs, some of which include the oak tree. On Wednesday, the staff had the opportunity to review these conceptual drawings and share thoughts and comments on the various designs, and last night the School Building Committee held a joint meeting with the Board of Selectmen and the School Committee to review these concepts. One of the next phases will be to select a shortlist of these plans and provide more detail to the conceptual designs.
Many of you may be curious about swing space during the construction of a new Hunnewell. At this time, options have been narrowed, no decisions have been made, and further research is necessary.
On the evening of January 24th, the PTO will be hosting School Committee Members, Sharon Gray and Matt Kelley, and Tim Bonfetti of Compass, the owner’s project manager to answer any questions you may have at this point in the process. I hope you are able to attend. The PTO and I will send reminders closer to the date.
We are so fortunate to have an opportunity to design a building that truly reflects and the incredible work that teachers and staff do every day to develop the critical thinking skills, the communication skills, the creativity, and the social/emotional learning of our students and ourselves.
Meanwhile, I wish everyone a safe and peaceful relaxing break with family and friends!