Hudson School Board Needs your Input — Which Building Option do you Like?

August 30, 2019


by Len Lathrop

The Hudson School Board was presented by the SAU 81 administration four different options to complete the Alvirne High School renovation plans.  The plans were released at the end of last week to board members, and Monday they were asked to advise the administration as to what option best meets the needs of Hudson students.

Superintendent Larry Russell presented priorities that have been articulated since the start of the Palmer CTE Center was first discussed several years ago.  These include the following:  a safe/secure building entrance with administrative offices that meet the community’s needs, as well as secure drop-off sequence for buses and students and parents;  improved function of the high school cafeteria for student safety; enhanced co-curricular space for performing arts and gymnasium; and community, athletic and recreation space improvements.

Lavallee Brensinger, the architect for the CTE building project, was represented by Jay Doherty at Monday night’s meeting; the firm had worked with the school administration on five options to give ideas based on their other school building experiences.

Russell and Doherty presented an overview of each option to the board; the complete packet can be found on the school department’s website using this link,

All the options need further work and were developed to allow some rough cost estimates to be presented based on square footage of each choice and the type of structure it was.

As the board discussed each option in detail with their estimated costs at Monday’s meeting, no consensus was reached as to what was the best option for Hudson students. School board member Gary Gasdia withheld his vote as he wanted to hear from the citizens about the options, as well as to gain some idea of what people felt would pass in March.  He mentioned that he knew the voters had supported the previous proposals as both had just missed the required 60 percent for bonding as 59 percent of those who cast a ballot said yes.

Before a review of each option, please mark your calendar to attend one of the following public input sessions next week:  Wednesday, Sept. 4, in the music room at Alvirne High School and Thursday, Sept. 5, at the Hudson Recreation Center (former Community Center on Lion Ave.); both meetings are planned from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

The plans are hard to delineate without some description. Option A involves building an addition outside the current entrance to the Steckevicz gymnasium with new administrative offices and conference rooms with new secure double doors; visitors could enter the offices without entering the school.  Its cost is estimated at $2,500,000.  Once past the double access to the school visitors go through the current cafeteria.  If you are looking at the plans, the green area is new construction.

Option B offers a secure double-door entrance with a new hallway dividing the cafeteria into two, which allows entrance to the school without going through the students in the cafeteria; the kitchen is relocated with a new serving line serving the cafeteria.  Again, the new area shows the new offices in green, and the lighter green depicts the cafeteria and kitchen.  The cost is estimated at $11,500,000.

Option C1 is Option B with a new building outside the new entrance and toward the football field, which houses a multi-purpose space and improvements.  The multi-purpose room is a gym with bleachers and a stage for performances and much more.  On the second level of the current building there is a new locker room where the current stage is.  Cost estimate is $14,300,000.

In Option C2 the new building is a performance theater, not a multi-purpose room, roughly 450 seats and stage and a slightly different double-door configuration for security complete with a concession stand and bathrooms to serve the theater and the outside sport events.  Cost is $16,000,000.

Option D combines the other options.  It has an auditorium but it is moved toward the academic wing, and the other addition site by Memorial Field becomes a multi-purpose room again without the stage and bleacher seating –still 450 seats but on two levels stadium and balcony. There is again site work.  Cost is estimated at $18,200,000.

Confused?  That’s why you must attend the meeting to get all your answers.  These are very basic descriptions from the Monday night presentation based on the architect’s explanation of the proposed options. Take a look at the plans on the school district’s website.