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Hunnewell Project: Design concepts and diagrams

The preferred option fulfills the district’s needs and vision by constructing an entirely new school, allowing for the creation of the full range of educational spaces and student neighborhood learning commons outlined in the educational plan. This educational plan was developed as part of the study and is included in this section. Due to the constraints of the Hunnewell site and existing building, no addition/renovation option was able to fully meet the goals outlined in the District’s educational plan, and new construction was deemed the preferred solution. This two-story option, sited on the existing school’s footprint, will require students to be relocated for the approximately 18- to 24-month construction schedule (see Appendices for the swing space alternatives analysis of this report). 

Over the course of the feasibility study phase, there were many design test fit options were studied. The SBC narrowed down the shortlist to a new Construction Option and an Addition with Renovation option in Spring 2019. The SBC, school Committee and Board of Selectmen all recommended the new construction option as the preferred option to bring to Town Meeting for funding approval.   


The current conceptual design for a new Hunnewell Elementary school includes a two-story building of approximately 75,000 GSF that supports a design enrollment of 365 students with 18 regular sections and a 19th classroom to be used as a STEAM lab. The 19th classroom will be sized larger than a typical classroom so that it can serve that function during a bubble year of enrollment. Images of the Floor Plans can be viewed here. A copy of the conceptual site plan shows how the building layouts out on the site with parking, site circulation and play areas.

The new Hunnewell school will be constructed on the same site as the existing school. It is set back slightly farther from Cameron Street, and all classrooms are oriented to the eastern/quieter side of the site. A restricted-access driveway and parking areas has been provided for parking 45 to 55 cars on site, and a gated fire access lane has been provided on all sides. Parent drop-off is planned to occur via two laybys along Cameron Street. No parent vehicles will enter the site during drop-off times. In the afternoons, parent/auto pickup will occur in the restricted access loop while buses will use the Cameron Street layby. The main entrance and entry plaza on the northwestern side of the school allows for easy pedestrian access for walkers and bikers from the Hunnewell neighborhood. The adjacent administration wing encourages passive surveillance of the entry plaza while also offering efficient access to the school nurse’s suite. Off the main entry is the stage and cafetorium space, which opens to the south into the gymnasium. The gym is slightly larger than current elementary standards to allow for community, high school, and middle school use when elementary school is not in session. Exits from the gym are directly toward Fuller Brook and the large active play spaces to the south and east of the school. These spaces are all located on the Cameron Street public-facing side of the school for ease of use and separation from the rest of the school for after-school events. 

The new building consists of (3) three-classroom neighborhood learning commons on each floor that are accessible from a central corridor, thought of as “Main Street” for the school. Each classroom neighborhood has a grade-level learning commons at the heart, a cloak room upon entry, an adjacent toilet core, and nearby SPED spaces. All classroom neighborhoods are located on the quieter north and eastern side of the school. The first floor has Grade K, 1 and 2 classroom neighborhoods and the second floor have the Grade 3, 4 and 5 classroom neighborhoods. The media center / library, STEAM, art and music rooms are all centrally located on the second floor. A learning stair connects the two floors of the building near the cafetorium. It may be used for instruction, presentation, or performance in the heart of the school.

The new school will be approximately 75,000 gross square feet with an estimated total project cost of $55 to $58 million. The preferred option will involve the abatement and demolition of the existing Hunnewell school followed by construction of the new school, parking and access roads. 

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