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HUDSON - Superintendent Phil Herman presented a community update on the ongoing Facilities Master Plan which contains plans for a new middle school and several potential scenarios for the present school.
Last month Herman presented several of the options for the community during the Board meeting.
The entire meeting can be found on the Board of Education's website.
The Board is using what it called its "white plan" as a basic guideline for the middle school and other building renovations, according to Herman.
The white plan includes constructing a new middle school for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders which would have a lifespan of about 75 years, adding air conditioning to Evamere and McDowell elementary schools, moving the central offices to McDowell and a variety of renovations. Grade level alignments would remain the same. The estimated price tag for the plan is $81.55 million.
"Why are we engaging in this process to begin with?" Herman asked about the ongoing Faclities Master Plan. "We have aging facilities and we are trying to address the facility needs for the district for the next 25 to 30 years."
According to Herman the aging buildings have been a topic of discussion throughout the district for several years. Other reasons to look into long term plans is the ever-changing need for a variety of learning environments, fiscal responsibility and long term planning for students.
The district has relied on several community engagement efforts, think tanks and surveys to help get to this point, according to Herman.
A committee of Board members, staffers, administrators and community members approved the company GPD from a final group of four bidders as the firm for a pre-bond architect work study on the middle school which still contains the original 1927 facade.
"We do new construction and we do renovation," according to Rodwell King, project manager. "One thing you will notice is that we don't do cookie-cutter architecture. We do designs that are focused on your community and your desires. We want your building to be unique in Hudson."
John Peterson, also of GPD, said the firm wants to look at site plans for the elementary schools as well as the middle school and improvements at the natatorium.
The firm suggested building a new middle school where the baseball fields are, according to Peterson. The new location would help separate bus traffic from car traffic. The buses would have a special areas which could also serve as event parking during after school activities. The old middle school would be demolished and turned into staff parking. The existing parking would be tuned in to athletic fields and the auto tech building will be demolished and a new one built at the high school. The five-year time span would also give the Board and community time to decide what to do with the 1927 facade, Peterson said.
"We've got a great opportunity to improve the safety of the students," Peterson said, stating the traffic flow around the school would also improve.
The existing middle school would serve as swing space for about five years, according to Peterson. "Students will stay in the facility while the new facility is built."
After the new middle school is completed, the current middle school would be used as swing space for the elementary school renovations, Peterson added.
The new middle school would be a two-story Georgian colonial style.
"It would be very welcoming and very fitting to the city of Hudson," Peterson said.
Peterson said the new 176,500 square foot facility would also use space more efficiently than the the current 190,000 square feet school.
"We'll be much more efficient in our space utilization," Peterson said.
The district has scheduled several meetings to get feedback from the community.
Herman called the facilities plan a great adventure that has him excited. Howvever he did caution the community to look at the bigger picture.
According to Herman the Master Facitlies Plan is not just about the 1927 portion of the middle school, but about sustaining buildings and learning for students through the next 25 to 30 years.
"We are in a much better place to present these than we were in the fall," Herman said. "And most of that is due to community feedback."