The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 10, 2005


CCHS Feasibility Study Committee Architects suggest timetable for renovations, additions

The Concord-Carlisle High School Feasibility Study Committee has received preliminary estimates from the architectural firm Symmes, Maini and McKee Associates (SMMA) for how long the different options for addressing CCHS renovation and space needs would take to complete. A renovation only would take 32 to 38 months. Renovation plus addition of new space is estimated at 48 to 54 months, and construction of a new school would take 36 months.

Renovation-plus-addition project

The committee paid close attention to the phasing of a renovation-plus-addition project. One plan is to have fifteen modular classrooms brought in to duplicate the L-wing which would be demolished first to make room for a new auditorium. A new gymnasium and auditorium would be put up simultaneously in 18 months. The next phase would entail building new administrative offices, some classrooms and possibly a new library where the old auditorium stood. This new structure would be two to three stories high. The last phase would be to renovate the science wing. During all these phases the lower gym would be used for various functions such as a library, the guidance department or a cafeteria.

There are several problems with this plan. First, new science classrooms will not be ready for over four years from now, and they are needed immediately. Tim Hult, Carlisle Selectman and member of the Feasibility Committee, said, "We need to get classrooms first. Otherwise, kids could be in modulars all four years." Regional School Committee member Michael Fitzgerald added, "The academic environment will suffer during construction. It would be less if you made classrooms first."

Concord Police Chief Len Wetherbee, a Feasibility Committee member, was concerned about parking and safety issues during the four to five years of renovations. "There are huge problems at the high school right now with pedestrians and moving carsThe rest of the town doesn't realize the problems we have now," Wetherbee said. There is already a shortage of student parking, and traffic and pedestrian patterns need to be addressed.

SMMA consultant Phil Poinelli responded, "There may be a need to limit parking during the project." He pointed out that even with new construction we wouldn't see new science classrooms for three years. Fifteen additional modular classrooms could be brought in for science, so that that wing could be renovated during the first phase as well. That would mean 30 modular classrooms would have to be placed around the high school. It would be a modular city with its own set of logistical problems.

Another suggestion is to demolish the auditorium and build the administrative offices and science classrooms in that space first. That would mean doing without an auditorium for 18 months. Concerts, plays and Concord Town Meeting would be displaced.

Another option is to add a new wing of classrooms to the back of the building. Although this would get needed classrooms quickly, its design would add to the sprawl of the already sprawling campus. Alex Pitkin of SMMA said, "Whatever is done might be painful during construction. Let's make sure it's not painful for the next 50 years."

Construction of new school

Another option is the construction of a whole new school. SMMA landscape architect Peter Lukacic described a two-to-three-story design that could be built into the hillside behind the current building, with parking behind it. It would leave the football field intact, but one baseball field might be lost. The building would be closer to the fields then if the building was constructed on top of the hill. This would be helpful for gym classes. More on this option would be discussed at the next meeting.

2005 The Carlisle Mosquito