Friday, January 22, 2010
Seven options presented for CCHS upgrade
At last week’s CCHS Facilities Master Plan Committee (FMP) meeting, Michael Rosenfeld of the Office of Michael Rosenfeld (OMR), the architectural firm doing the master plan, walked the committee through various high-level ideas of how to renovate the high school facilities. Versions ranged from keeping the school as a sprawling one-story building to condensing it into a three-story building with a smaller footprint. All options included a new 40,000 square-foot field house.
Rosenfeld said that the options he was presenting are “approaches,” not designs. He reiterated the goals of the committee: to optimize for value in fiscal and physical areas and natural resources; to optimize phasing in terms of time, feasibility, ease and safety; to optimize for 21st century learning in regards to program and appropriate adjacencies and to optimize the integration of site and building relationship. The last goal is for sustainability in terms of solar orientation, compactness, efficiency and reuse.
After studying CCHS space usage, OMR proposes a larger facility. The table (below) lists current and proposed space allocations, as well as those recommended by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) and a 2005 facility study by SMMA. The SMMA study differed in that it assumed a five- to ten-year projected student enrollment of 1,350, about 100 students more than currently predicted.
To read OMR’s presentation and view diagrams of the different options, see informaton online at: www.cchsmasterplan.org, “Alternative Approaches” under menu item: “From the Architect.”
Options A and B kept the school footprint essentially as it is now. The committee decided to go no further with these options due to sustainability issues.
Option C, which eliminates the “I” and “L” buildings and the cafeteria, encloses all the center courtyards that now exist. That new space in the center of the school would become the Information Commons – a combination of what we know as a library, added spaces for collaborative work, space for technology learning and use and a dining area. This new area and the present “H” building would be two stories. This option allows for educational program changes. The second story could become the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) area. The present “S” building could become the Freshman Academy and the Student Support area. The entrance would be moved to the east side. The current student parking lot would become the bus and student drop-off area. Parking would be moved to where the present “L” building and cafeteria were.
CCHS Principal Peter Badalament said the Freshman Academy is a concept some schools are moving to. For instance, the freshman class could be divided into groups of 75 students with an interdisciplinary team of teachers. Superintendent Rigby said it helps students adjust from a small school setting to a large school setting. Badalament said, “It would give them more advisory time . . . There is substantial research that shows that giving kids a good footing in high school like this, greatly improves their performance . . . For many kids at risk, it reduces the risk factors in terms of being successful in high school.” RSC member Pam Gannon who was in the audience said, “I don’t want to lock freshmen into this.” RSC and FMP member Jerry Wedge assured her that the plan will be flexible. The space can be used for many things.
In option D, the “I”, “S” and “L” buildings are eliminated, making the footprint of the remaining building smaller. A large parking lot may exist where the buildings were demolished. In this approach, the Information Commons does not extend to the eastern walls of the “H” building, but it gets natural light from the east side. The “H” building is two stories high. The front door remains where it is presently. Student Support Services move to the present cafeteria location. The gyms are eliminated and the field house is expanded to include space for health and fitness. The Freshman Academy is down the hall from Student Services.
In option F, the “I”, “S”, “L” and “H” buildings are eliminated. A new building stands between where the “H” building was and where the arts and cafeteria are. This new area is three stories high. The STEM Learning area, the Cultural Learning area which includes history, English and foreign languages, are on the first and second floors. The Information Commons is on the third floor. The entrance remains where it is now and Student Services will be located where the cafeteria is now. This option, which pulls the building further from the hill behind it, allows for the most use of natural light with a southern exposure. It has an even smaller footprint than Option D.
After going through seven options, the committee asked OMR to further explore and develop Options C, D and F mentioned above. The committee wants to see more information on how these projects would be built, what the phasing looks like, how long the option will take to complete and costs associated with each. OMR will present to the CCHS FMP committee again on Wednesday, January 27 at 6 p.m. on the third floor of the CCHS Library. ∆
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