Public Will Have Multiple Chances to Give Input on WHS Construction Project

Watertown’s School Building Committee has begun looking at the high school renovation/rebuilding project, and the public will have multiple chances to weigh in, beginning in November. The first public meeting about the Watertown High School project will be held Nov. 19 at a time and place to be announced, Town Council President Mark Sideris announced at Wednesday’s School Building Committee meeting. The School Building Committee learned that the process for the WHS project will be different from the one used for the three elementary schools — the other half of Watertown Public School’s Building for the Future. The high school project is part of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) program, which has many requirements and deadlines to meet.

Asbestos Abatement Will be Costly in School Projects, Soil for Foundations in Good Shape

Asbestos was found deep in the walls of Hosmer Elementary School, which will result in higher costs of demolition when the new school is built.

Architects gave the School Building Committee some good news and some bad news with the costs related to hazardous material removal and the grounds where foundations will be built for the upcoming construction projects. In preparation for the construction projects at Watertown’s three elementary schools, architects have been looking at the conditions for demolition of the current schools, and to put in foundations for the new ones. The Bad News

When the schools were examined the schools for hazardous materials some asbestos was found in some hidden places, said Scott Dunlap, project architect for Ai3 Architects. The school with the most was Hosmer Elementary. “What we found at Hosmer we have only seen it a couple times,” Dunlap said, who described a layer of asbestos buffering between the exterior brick wall and the cement blocks inside.

Committee Overseeing School Projects Concerned with Rising Construction Costs

A view of the most recent design of the new Hosmer Elementary School. Members of the School Building Committee worry about controlling the costs in Watertown’s three elementary school building projects in a climate with a competitive construction industry and international tariff wars. The projects include brand new schools at Hosmer and Cunniff elementary schools and a major renovation and addition at Lowell Elementary School. At least one member was bothered that Watertown may have missed an opportunity to keep the projects on budget using an alternative to the typical construction model. The design firm, Ai3 Architects, have nearly completed the design development phase (the second of three major phases before construction) and the costs are currently being estimated.

Watertown High School Project Moving Forward, Public Meetings Planned

The multiyear process that will result in a new or renovated Watertown High School got rolling last week when the School Building Committee heard about what it will take to make the project a reality. On July 11, the Owner’s Project Manager for the Watertown High School project, Compass Project Management, met with the School Building Committee to talk about some of the projects they have worked one, and the schedule for the project. Compass is working on a five-phase, 18-month construction project at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Natick, said Tim Bonfatti, president of Compass. “Much like the current Watertown High School it is on a very constricted site, with limited options around it,” Bonfatti said. “And the solution that is going to be built there is going to be built in phases because we can’t complete it within the constrained footprint of that site.”

Energy Efficiency, Sustainability Goals for Watertown’s New Schools

A rendering of what the new Hosmer Elementary School could look like. The School Building Committee affirmed its commitment to making Watertown’s new elementary schools energy efficient and built in sustainable ways. The committee that is overseeing the school projects at Hosmer, Cunniff and Lowell elementary schools voted unanimously on June 19 to approve sustainability goals for the project. Architect Scott Dunlap from Ai3 also discussed some details of the design and ways they can be efficient and sustainable. The Sustainability Subcommittee of the School Building Committee presented the proposed goal, which called for striving for Net Zero buildings and to reach LEED Gold standards for the sustainability of the projects at the two new school buildings (Cunniff and Hosmer), while efforts would be made to make the Lowell energy efficient and sustainable.

Council Approves Funds for Design of Elementary School Projects

An illustration of what the new Hosmer School will likely look like when completed, The view is from the east looking at the new main entrance. The Town Council approved the first major funding piece for the $170 million reconstruction of Watertown’s three elementary schools on Tuesday night. The project will be paid for within the Town’s budget, without requiring a debt exclusion to pay for the work, Town Manager Michael Driscoll said. The Council approved a loan order for $12.441 million for design services. Town Council President Mark Sideris noted that the project, and the price tag has changes significantly.

Committee to Re-Interview Project Manager Firms, Discuss Options for Lowell School

An image of the latest plans for what Lowell Elementary School will look like after it is renovated. The School Building Committee could not choose one of the finalists for owner’s project manager for Watertown’s elementary school construction projects, so they will bring them back in for second round of interviews. At the same time, they discussed how to approach the renovation of Lowell School, and progress on the high school project. On May 7, the three finalists for the firms that will oversee the construction of the schools on behalf of the Town made presentations to the School Building Committee. The finalists — Hill, Leftfield and Skanska — were chosen from seven firms that submitted proposals.

Lowell School Plans Please School Building Committee; Updated on Hosmer & Cunniff

An image of the latest plans for what Lowell Elementary School will look like after it is renovated. The latest images of what Lowell Elementary School will look like after renovation wowed members of the School Building Committee, last week. The group also got updates on the new buildings being built at the Hosmer and Cunniff elementary school sites. Scott Dunlap, project designer from Ai3 Architects, presented the plans to the School Building Committee at a meeting on April 25. Lowell will be extensively renovated inside the current building, but it will also have a significant addition on the west end of the school.