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.

Architects Discuss School Gardens, Playgrounds & Outside Learning Spaces

A drawing showing the outdoor learning space outside Lowell Elementary School. The amenities surrounding Watertown’s three elementary schools after they are rebuilt or renovated are taking shape, but the School Building Committee and others have some concerns about handicap accessibility, deliveries and more. The designers of the town’s three elementary schools, Ai3 Architects, showed the School Building Committee details of the plans for the playgrounds, outdoor learning spaces, school gardens and even delivery areas at the Aug. 21 meeting. Gardens & Outdoor Learning Areas

The designers are working with teachers, staff and the district’s School Garden Coordinator, Judy Fallows, to help design the school gardens.

Designers Show Latest Look for New Cunniff School, Seek to Meet Green Goals

A drawing of the latest design for the entrance for Cunniff Elementary School. The latest drawings for the entrance to the new Cunniff Elementary School provides a simpler design and removes the stone features that architects had previously considered. Members of the School Building Committee, which oversees the projects at Watertown’s three elementary schools, did not care for the previous design. Some said they thought a large stone feature around the three-story entryway seemed too imposing, looked cold and did not seem inviting. At the Aug.

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.

Design of Watertown’s Elementary Schools Taking Shape

A view of the approved addition to Lowell School, seen on the right, which has tall windows, including on the corners. The designs of Watertown’s three elementary school projects solidified Wednesday night, with the School Building Committee selecting its preferred options for Lowell School, and they got previews of the two new schools at Hosmer and Cunniff. While the Hosmer and Cunniff schools will get brand new schools, Lowell School will undergo a major renovation, plus a large addition will be made to the east side of the building. This area will include the library/media center. The look of the addition to the Lowell School was the big sticking point at the Committee’s previous meeting, with members splitting evenly over the two choices.

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.

Designing of Watertown’s New Elementary Schools Entering the Home Stretch

An illustration showing one corner of the new Cunniff Elementary School. This corner, closest to Warren Street, is where the media center will be located. Architects will soon be completing the designs for Watertown’s elementary schools, and the committee overseeing the project wants to give input before the final touches are put on the plans. The end of the design development stage will be in late July, and some on the School Building Committee want to get more details on the materials that will be used on the exterior and what the interiors of the new school will look like. On June 5, Ai3 Architect’s Scott Dunlap provided an update on the school designs, including touching on what the exteriors will look like.

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.