New Elementary School at Fruit Street – HPS Press Release 1-6-11
For the past ten years, the School Committee has been discussing with the community the need to renovate and expand Center School to improve the quality of education for Hopkinton’s students. The age and condition of the present facility compromise learning. The age and condition of Center School also do not allow the district to meet its goal for “neighborhood schools” where all K-5 students from a family could attend the same school near their home. The deteriorating conditions at the Center School and the plan for neighborhood schools have been discussed openly at a number of community forums, with elected and appointed officials, and at Town Meetings. Funding and space constraints have been the major impediments to implementing these plans. The current school building program through the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) gives the opportunity to finally realize this long-time goal.
In July of 2010, the MSBA endorsed votes by the Hopkinton Elementary School Building Committee (HESBC) and the Hopkinton School Committee to retire the Center School and replace it with a new facility on Fruit Street. Though three options were proposed for the renovation and addition to the Center School, the MSBA viewed Fruit Street as the most cost effective option and the best solution for educating Hopkinton’s children. The MSBA reached its decision after reviewing the results of a comprehensive Feasibility Study that was originally authorized by the MSBA in December of 2007 and supported by the voters at the Annual Town Meeting in May of 2008.
On December 29, 2010, the school district submitted the Schematic Design for the new elementary school to the MSBA. Design Partnership of Cambridge (DPC) specifically designed the facility to be a K-5 neighborhood school. The school will also house the town-wide Integrated Preschool. The building will contain four pre-school classrooms, twenty-four classrooms for grades K-5, and other standard core spaces. If the new school is approved, the school district will offer a tuition-based, full-day kindergarten program for any interested family at the new elementary school, at the Elmwood School, and at the Hopkins School, each of which will become a K-5 neighborhood school.
DPC has designed a 93,430 square foot building that will meet all the criteria for a ‘green facility’ and earn the maximum incentive points from the MSBA. The school includes three levels, which take advantage of the natural topography of the land. The lower level houses the preschool and provides it with its own separate drop-off and play area. The main and upper levels include the classrooms and programmatic spaces for students in grades K-5. The building has been zoned to provide a sense of neighborhood for each grade level and to most efficiently allow for after-hours community use.
The proposed school will be located on parcel 7 on the Fruit Street property, the tract of land designated for a new school as part of the Master Plan for the land. The parcel includes the current lacrosse/soccer field and baseball/softball/soccer field, which will remain intact under the current plans for the school. The overall design of the school has been improved as a result of collaboration with other town boards, committees, and officials. The school project now includes some infrastructure improvements that will benefit the school as well as the future development of the property. These improvements include utility upgrades and building the school access road to subdivision specifications so it can potentially be used as the main entry way to the Fruit Street property.
The School Committee will request funding from the citizens of Hopkinton for the final design and construction of the new elementary school at a Special Town Meeting and Election in March. To inform the public about the project, a series of community forums, neighborhood coffees, and School Committee office hours have been scheduled.
For more complete information regarding the Feasibility Study, the designs for the school, important project information, and School Committee information sessions, please visit the Elementary School Building Project page on the school district website at www.hopkinton.k12.ma.us.
[The preceding is a press release from the Hopkinton Public Schools, dated January 6, 2011. For much more detailed information please see the newly launched Hopkinton Elementary School Building Project website: https://sites.google.com/a/hopkinton.k12.ma.us/hesbc/]