The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 5, 2010

CCHS building project design takes shape


This perspective drawing shows the proposed changes to CCHS, including a new three-story classroom building (center) and field house (right). The Beede Swim Center is on the lower left. (OMR Architects)

The Office of Michael Rosenfeld (OMR) continues to fine-tune its concepts for a renovated Concord-Carlisle Regional High School (CCHS). At the January 27 meeting of the CCHS Facilities Master Plan Committee, the committee had chosen a layout which had a field house on the west side and a three-story building for academic classrooms and the library/learning commons. In this option, the existing “I”, “S”, and “L” buildings will be demolished. This option was explored further at last week’s meeting, on February 24.

Michael Rosenfeld of OMR reiterated the committee’s previous comments that the plan should balance costs of building new and renovating; provide more openness and exposure to the south; make sure a three-story building “feels comfortable” on the site; incorporate sustainable design strategies; have the theater and field house as anchors; reduce the number of construction phases to lessen disruption to the school and minimize costs; engage in a Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) partnership, but demonstrate flexibility with or without MSBA participation.

Rosenfeld presented three refinements of the layout under consideration. The committee preferred the option labeled “F2” (see illustrations above and at right.)

In the preferred layout, the auditorium and athletic center anchor each end of the facility. By orienting the field house differently, it no longer sticks out into the fields. The cafeteria looks out over a new plaza/green space area at the back side of the building. This design is the most compact and energy-efficient, allowing abundant sunlight into the building. There will be new art areas, new classrooms and a renovated auditorium. The renovation/addition is less expensive than new construction, although the savings is probably less than 10%.

The renovation design being considered by the CCHS Facilities Master Plan Committee. (OMR Architects)

In order to expand the auditorium, the wall nearest the driveway will come down and the building will be enlarged to create an auditorium that seats 750 rather than 500 students. New construction will expand the existing “A” building on the eastern wall. This new space will house art classrooms, including rooms for ceramics, sculpture and 2D design. All the art rooms will be on one side of the renovated auditorium. All the music-oriented rooms, those for chorus, band and orchestra, will be on the other side of the auditorium.

At the other end of the building will be the expanded athletic center. The lower level of this area will have the performance gym, locker rooms, weight and fitness room, offices for the athletic director and trainer and storage areas for physical fitness equipment. The field house, which contains three basketball courts with a track around them, will also be on the lower level.

Phased construction

Rosenfeld gave a tentative timeline for construction. This renovation/addition option, if started by June of 2012, would be completed three and a half years later, some time in the fall of 2015. In comparison, all-new construction could be completed a few months sooner, by June, 2015.

The phasing for the renovation option under discussion would have to be tight to have everything completed by opening day in September, 2015. The hope is that the three-story addition could be occupied with only site work remaining.

Rosenfeld laid out the plan for phasing the construction. The first phase would include building the new field house, a new cafeteria and kitchen, rooms for mechanical and electrical systems and the new art classrooms that make up the “A” building addition. The existing upper gym and locker rooms would be demolished.

Once completed, the new cafeteria and kitchen would be used and the old cafeteria would be renovated to become space for student support services, including administration, the nurse, guidance, Special Education and METCO.

The field house and locker rooms would also be used. The upper floor would be used as temporary “swing space.” The existing “H” building classrooms would be reassigned into this swing space. The library would be moved into the lower gym. Then the “H” building and the library would be demolished. This first phase would be roughly 15 months long, possibly from June, 2012 through August, 2013.

The second phase would last 26 months, from August, 2013 through October, 2015. During this phase, the three-story addition would be built. This would house classrooms, labs and the library/learning commons. Also during this phase, the “A” building and the lower gym would be completely renovated and the lower gym would become a performance gym with bleachers. When the three-story addition is completed, staff and students will move into this space. Then the “I”, “L” and “S” buildings can be demolished. Site work would be completed.

The concepts, tentative phasing and timeline will be part of the Facilities Master Plan which is nearing completion. At the next meeting on March 10, the design will be refined further and Rosenfeld will present estimated costs. Voters from both towns will see a $1.3 million Article on their town’s Warrant for a feasibility study and design schematics.

The committee plans to hold a public presentation of the final report and recommendations on Monday, March 29, at 7 p.m. in the CCHS library. ∆

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