Demolition of Hosmer School Will Begin Soon

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A map of the area around Hosmer Elementary School, including the traffic plan for the fall. The section of the school in the dark green area will remain after the rest of the school, to the left, is demolished this summer.

The demolition of a portion of Hosmer Elementary School will begin on Monday, July 27.

Project Manager Thomas Finnegan, from Hill International, sent a letter to school and town officials, and others, updating them about the reconstruction project. The auditorium and cafeteria will be torn down as part of the demolition work, which will take about four weeks. Finnegan said he expects the building to be completely taken down in two to three weeks.

“Phase 1 demolition will start at the old entrance of the Hosmer Elementary School and work towards the Brigham House (the newentrance door for the Z section of the Hosmer Elementary School is now off Concord Road),” Finnegan wrote.

Trucks will enter and exit the construction site from the corner of Mt. Auburn and Boylston streets, Finnegan said. Water will be applied to the building before it is brought down to limit the amount of dust kicked up.

He also noted that a large excavator will be delivered to the Hosmer site on Saturday, July 25.

Meanwhile, utility work will continue along Hancock Street for the next two weeks, Finnegan wrote, and a temporary fence will be put up along the street. Additional utility work will be done at the corner of Winthrop and Hancock streets during the first two weeks of August.

More information on the Hosmer and Cunniff School projects is posted on the elementary school projects website. See documents and updates by clicking here.

7 thoughts on “Demolition of Hosmer School Will Begin Soon

    • No more taxes for the elementary schools (the town is shifting money used to pay off retirement shortfall). There will be an override vote for the Town’s portion of the high school (the state will cover close to half the cost).

  1. Jack asks a valid question though I’m betting what he really wants to know is the answer to this: what would A tax hike be for an override to pay for a 200k school (assuming 48% paid for by msba ) or about 104k be for a resident?
    Say if u pay 2000-3000$
    Or 5000-7000 or say 10000-12000 in taxes?
    I think that a High school is super important but so is knowing the costs. We should make decisions with knowledge and transparency, I’m looking forward to the SC and T C letting us know in 2021.

  2. I invite everyone who can attend to a Community Forum about the WHS project on Wednesday 7/29 @ 6:00 PM (how to connect: https://bit.ly/39GTE2d), where the list of site and building options will be presented, along with their respective estimated cost ranges (see also http://www.watertownmanews.com/2020/07/23/forum-on-watertown-high-school-planned-building-committee-doesnt-like-renovation-option/). At this stage, there are only gross details about possible square footage and potential placement of programming and classrooms, so it follows that the cost estimates are wide. I encourage you to come and give your opinion about the choices that are presented. According to the latest timeline, the School Building Committee will likely be deciding in November which option from the list is their preferred one, before having to submit it to the MSBA in January 2021.

  3. Jack is asking a very valid question and a question that has yet to be addressed by our town.

    What would a tax increase look like? Not the average increase but what it looks like for properties with different assessments.

    Most towns that have built new schools have seen their real estate taxes go up at least $600.00 with some towns seeing 20% -25% increases in their property taxes. The average Belmont resident saw an increase of over $1,000 per year the first year. Is this something Watertown residents will go for? I doubt it. Especially considering how high are taxes already are and how little we get in return for that. Now factor in that if a new high school is built it won’t benefit any kids from the middle school and high school. Do you think families that will have aged out of the public schools will really agree to pay more in taxes when it doesn’t benefit them? Then think about all the families that have left the Watertown Public Schools for private. Do you think they will agree to more taxes for a school system that they felt was inadequate? Thinking more about elementary age students and how many families leave town during these years for either better rated school districts or private. This has happened every year with my kids and classmates and it’s not overstating to see at times 25% of families opting for different options ( private, move out of town, Minuteman).

    While some may be applauding that new schools are being built I would say that having to build 4 out of the 5 schools in town highlights the failure of our town to put any emphasis on public education. Had we planned better, a whole lot better, we could have rebuilt each school over time with some of the money being funded from the MSBA but instead we waited until we were in a desperate situation and our only option was to apply for one school through this funding. For instance, had we started 12-15 years ago and maybe started with the Cunniff then 2-3 years later we would move on to the Hosmer. We could have held on to some of the money that the town is now using to build the elementary schools. This isn’t very smart and certainly not something we should applaud. Makes me wonder what other massive failures are happening in town that have yet to be discovered.

    Another thing to consider is whether residents will agree to pay more even though Watertown is consistently ranked below average in terms of public education. Building a shiny new school won’t change what is happening between the four walls of that school. This past Covid shut down and having the schools go remote also highlights the epic failure of our school officials and town officials. Just ask parents throughout town, especially middle and high school parents, and they will tell you their children did virtually nothing from March on. Yes, other towns had these same challenges but that should not be an excuse. There are plenty of towns that managed this a whole lot better and kept kids on track. Thinking about all these parents and their displeasure with what happened or what didn’t happen from March on, I can’t see them agreeing to pay more in taxes.

    Lastly, the current economy and the expectation of another recession make this an inappropriate time to even try to ask residents to pay more in taxes. What should be happening now is we should be looking at every budget in town and making cuts throughout the town. We should be looking for ways to reduce our taxes not increase them.

    • Thanks for your comment. Watertown officials have not discussed the impact on the taxes. However, a couple pieces of information to consider comparing to the Belmont project. Belmont is building both a high school and middle school in their project. Looks like the budget is about $295 million (https://belmont.wickedlocal.com/news/20190528/belmont-holds-groundbreaking-for-new-middle-and-high-school). They also have fewer households and a smaller number of commercial/industrial properties that Watertown. That should mean residential tax bills in Watertown would not rise as much as the have in Belmont.

    • Also consider that there are a number of family’s that have been out of work and seen their life savings slowly being depleted due the Covid pandemic, and it could take years for them to financially recover… if ever.

      Figuring in the water and sewer rates going up 8.6% only adds insult to injury.

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