Newly Formed CTE Building Committee Provides Direction to Architects

June 8, 2018


by Len Lathrop

The committee sat in a large horseshoe in Checkers restaurant Friday morning, June 1, before school had even started. As voters in March had approved a renovation and addition to the Wilbur Palmer Career and Technical Education Center, the Hudson School board has recently authorized the start of the project. The development of plans and engineering work will be ready to break ground when the N.H. Department of Education funds its portion of the project with the start of the fiscal 2019 year and the next biannual budget.

Members of the building committee are Steve Beals, co-chair, Alvirne High School principal; Karen Burnell, co-chair, Hudson School District business administrator; Don Jalbert, Career & Technical Education director; Lee Lavoie, Hudson School Board member; Patricia DiLorenzo, Career & Technical Education teacher; Kevin Rauseo, community member; Dave Ross, community member; Gary Webster, community member; and Len Lathrop, community member. Ex Officio members are Larry Russell, superintendent of schools; Erin Adams, finance director; John Pratte, facilities director; and Judy King, community and business liaison. Building partners are Lavallee Brensinger Architects and Harvey Construction Corporation.

Representing Lavallee Brensinger were Lance Whitehead and James Doherty, both who have provided the conceptual plans for the project to date and Carl Dubois from Harvey Construction who has assisted with the conceptual process. Also, in attendance was James Petropulos P.E. from Hayner Swanson Land Surveyor and Civil Engineering.

The biggest question of the meeting involved the outside of the structure and what material to be used. Whitehead explained that the Palmer Center for the first time will have a front that faces the street and will have an entrance and parking. This means CTE, for the first time, will have a face in the community. Even though those who handled the rebuild after the 1974 fire are not readily available to offer opinions, the committee felt that brick should be planned for and incorporated into the final plans because of Alvirne High School’s status as an historic building.

After introductions around the table, Steve Beals explained the makeup of the committee and how the voting will take place. He then turned the meeting over to Lance Whitehead who outlined the steps needed to move forward from the conceptual plans to architectural and engineering planning. Whitehead reinforced that this project is governed by the voters in March and cannot exceed the approved $25.2 million expenditure, with $8,262 coming from the local taxpayer and $17 million from the Department of Education. A figure won’t be set until the state approves the next biannual budget, and, if the grant is not the full $17 million, then adjustments will have to be made or the project put on hold until the funding is secured, but, in order to be ready, a lot of decisions must be made.

Whitehead outlined the scope of the project using the conceptual plans to the committee and then went over the cost matrix that explains what the state will pay for and what must be funded with local dollars. He noted that the DOE has signed a memorandum of understanding with the school board that firmly establishes that they will be asking for $17 million on behalf of this project.

The memorandum outlines a shovel-ready date of July 20, 2019.

The building partners are spending two days meeting with key staff about their needs and ideas over the summer. As soon as school ends the building will be laser scanned to determine the exact dimensions of the existing structure, which includes removing and replacing ceiling tiles in each room.

As this is occurring, the civil engineer will be surveying the property and working with the Hudson Planning Board with the plans and especially with preparing the permit application that will be needed from the NH DES for the wetlands.

While the building partners will be working throughout the summer, unless something additional needs to be decided, the next committee meeting won’t meet until school begins again.