School Building Committee Looking at Costs of Creating Net Zero Energy Schools

An example of a rack that holds photo voltaic panels. Similar racks are planned to go in the parking lots of Hosmer and Cunniff schools in an effort to generate electricity. Architects designing Watertown’s new elementary schools are searching for enough space to place solar panels to make them net zero energy schools, however the biggest challenge to meeting the energy efficiency mark could be the project budget. Scott Dunlap, project architect for the three elementary school projects, showed the School Building Committee plans for Hosmer to place enough photo voltaic panels to cover the school’s energy use, while at Cunniff architects still need to find space for more panels. Lowell School will be renovated, so designers are not seeking to make the school net zero.

Architects Examining Possible Spots for New Watertown High School

Designers showed a mockup of a new school building that could fit on the current Watertown High School site. One of the biggest questions with the project to rebuild or renovate Watertown High School is where the building will be located. Wednesday night, project architect Scott Dunlap, of Ai3 Architects, presented some of the options to the School Building Committee, along with some of the pros and cons of each site. “The challenge of the Building Committee over the next three months is not to decide on the design of the high school, or even pick a location, but to identify which sites would be viable for consideration,” Dunlap said. The three main sites being examined are the current high school site, the combined Victory Field complex/Department of Public Works Facility, and Moxley Field.

Designers to Give Overview of Watertown High School Project on Tuesday

Planning has begun for rebuilding Watertown High School, and a meeting will be held Nov. 19 to discuss the project. School officials seek input from residents about the rebuilding or renovation of Watertown High School, and the public will have a chance to weigh in this week. On Tuesday, Nov. 19, a public forum will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the WHS Lecture Hall.

First Public Forum on Watertown High School Project Planned

The new Watertown High School logo, the shield, was approved by the School Committee on Tuesday. Watertown school officials invite the public to hear about the project to rebuild or renovate Watertown High School at a forum on Nov. 19. The Watertown Public Schools sent out the following announcement:

The Watertown High School Building Committee will be holding its first community forum on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at Watertown High School to discuss the planning and process around the proposed new high school project.

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.”