Hudson School Board Approves Design Plans with Hope that Everyone will Look Toward the Future

September 27, 2019

 

by Len Lathrop

Will the third time be a charm?

A revised remodeling option for Alvirne High School became official on Monday night in a 5-0 vote by the school board.  Monday a simple explanation was made of the latest design from Jay Doherty from Lavallee Brensinger Architects.  The school board had been involved in the decision making during two previous meetings where they gave direction to the senior staff and architects.

This will be the third time that voters are being asked to approve a new secure entrance to the school with an improved foot traffic pattern where a cafeteria is just that and not a thruway.  Parking lot improvements will occur for bus and car traffic with a secure drop-off sequence.  Enhanced co-curricular space will also be part of the proposed option.

Over the last two elections, Hudson voters have been asked to approve and bond similar but more expensive design plans to meet the priorities of a 21st century school.  When first presented to the voters in 2017, it was Article 2 with the renovation of the CTE Palmer Center that passed, while the other article garnered over 59 percent but failed to get the necessary 60 percent to secure the bond.  Last March the design plan was very similar with a new gymnasium and the auditorium being constructed in the current gym space.  While that question also received 59 percent plus of votes, it too failed the super majority required for bonding.

This is a very different design plan with no athletic space but a theater that can hold 600 people located in the parking lot behind the current academic wing where the current band room is.

Since March, the district staff has worked to meet the needs of the students, their families and the public.  Based on cost per square footage, the order of magnitude is $14.2 million for the actual construction.  All in with finishing, fixtures and equipment, the total comes to $17,550,000.

This price includes necessary site work and a construction contingency of 7 percent as well as all bond and legal counsel and site permitting fees, as the new addition and renovation is on the same site as the Palmer Center currently under construction.  The site survey, wetlands mapping, environmental traffic studies and geotechnical investigations can be used for a cost saving.

If the voters approve this project in March 2020, the engineering needs to be done quickly to go out for bids during the first months of winter when construction costs and bidding are most favorable.  An unidentified board member mentioned stretching the taxpayers’ dollars to the max.

As the topic drew to a close at the meeting, board member Gary Gasdia said, “This is for the school district and the entire town.  (These are) great plans and not just a school project but a look to the future.”

 

View the higher resolution renderings of the project here.