The search for the architecture firm that will design the new Watertown High School has begun, but they decision will not be completely up to local officials. The project to rebuild or renovate WHS will be part of the Massachusetts School Building Authority process. Through the program, the town will receive significant reimbursement from the state (close to 50 percent) but the MSBA process is a very prescribed one. Watertown has been accepted into the program and the next step is to select the firm for design services. The selection will be made by the MSBA’s Design Panel, which is made up of 16 people.
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.
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.
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.
The plan for Cunniff School would not have space for a tee ball field, after the building is moved left to provide more outdoor space along the right side. The School Building Committee discussed the plans on April 4. Architects presented proposed changes for the new buildings at the Cunniff and Hosmer schools, which left some concerns, particularly with the outdoor space at Cunniff. Scott Dunlap from Ai3 Architects presented the plans at last week’s School Building Committee meeting. Cunniff School
One major change would move the location of the proposed new Cunniff School building.
A look at what the inside of Hosmer School could look like. The view is from the top of the stadium seats in the learning commons, and looks down the atrium to the main entrance. The architects designing Watertown’s new elementary schools gave the School Building Committee a peek at what Hosmer, Cunniff and Lowell could look like after construction is complete. Scott Dunlap of Ai3 Architects showed what designers have come up with for what the outsides of the new buildings could look like. They have also laid out where the classrooms, gyms, cafeterias and other spaces would be located, even started to show where sinks and other fixtures could go in the rooms.
Some of the layouts have changed since the proposals first came before the School Building Committee.
The plan for the Hosmer School campus presented to the School Building Committee on Jan. 23. it shows the brand new school, and three parking areas. The cost estimate for rebuilding two of Watertown’s three elementary schools — while the third is thoroughly renovated — came in close enough to the price of the alternative of renovating the three schools for the School Building Committee to recommend going for the new construction option. Representatives from project designer Ai3 Architects and owners project manager Daedalus Projects presented the cost estimates at the Jan.
Plans to renovate or rebuild Watertown High School cleared a major hurdle Wednesday when State officials voted to move the project to the next step — doing a feasibility study and create a schematic design
The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) Board voted at a meeting held in Boston on Wednesday. The WHS project now moves to the second step in a series of eight. The School Building Committee will hire an owner’s project manager to oversee the design and construction, and hire a project designer.
Watertown Superintendent Dede Galdston announced vote on Wednesday in a statement in which she wrote:
I am pleased to share with you that the Massachusetts School Building Authority unanimously voted to invite the Watertown High School building project into Feasibility at their board meeting today. In attendance were Senator Brownsberger, Mark Sideris, Michael Driscoll, Shirley Lundberg, Heidi Perkins, Steve Magoon and me.The next step in the process is the selection of the Owner’s Project Manager which will begin soon. Once the OPM is in place, the designer will be selected through the MSBA’s Designer Selection Panel process. These steps are considered Module 2, which should be complete within four to six months. This is great news for our community!
The MSBA’s vote came after the Town Council voted to spend up to $1.6 million on an owner’s project manager and to hire a designer at a meeting in late November. At that meeting, Galdston showed what she called a “best case scenario” timeline, in which students and staff would move into the new school in the fall of 2023. A feasibility study will be created, which will include examining possible locations for the school and what the new construction and/or renovation will include.