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Hunnewell Project: Swing Space

Determining an adequate, cost effective and supportable place to house the students of the Hunnewell School during construction (i.e. swing space) has been an ongoing challenge since master planning for the Hardy, Hunnewell, and Upham schools began.  


Since 2014, approximately 24 unique options have been studied by the Town and various consultants. The complex and tight boundaries of the buildable area on the Hunnewell site limit solutions, due to the size of the site and significant restrictions for riverfront setback and wetlands protection. Options most often available to other suburban communities, such as constructing a new building next to an occupied facility or doing phased additions and renovations, are not feasible in this project. A number of variations on housing the full school at other locations, including vacant school sites (both in town and in surrounding communities) and the use of modular facilities placed on vacant land or adjacent to occupied schools, have been considered.

There is considerable interest, particularly within the Hunnewell community, in swing space options that allow the Hunnewell project to proceed independently of the Hardy/Upham project. The SBC and the School Department continued to develop the remaining viable swing space options during the summer months, and re-engaged the community on those options in the early fall. 

On October 1, 2019, the School Committee voted to support Internal Swing Space as a viable option to move forward with as part of the Hunnewell Project. On October 3, 2019, the School Building Committee voted to proceed with Internal Swing Space as the preferred swing space option. Special Town Meeting approved design and permitting funding on December 9, 2019 thereby authorizing the project to proceed. The Swing Space funding is anticipated to be voted on at the Annual Town Meeting in March, 2021 along with the Construction Phase funding for the new Hunnewell School.

Scroll down for more information on the early and late swing space options studied and the recommended Internal Swing Space approach. Please also see the presentations at the School Building Committee Meetings on July 11, 2019 and August 1, 2019

for conceptual options based on the swing space analysis inclusive of traffic study, site circulation, cost and schedule.

Early Hunnewell

(January or September 2023 New School Opening):

In Option 1, the Hunnewell school would continue through immediate design and construction phases, independent of the progress and completion of the Hardy/Upham project.

Swing Space Option 1: An "internal swing space" plan utilizing other District elementary school classrooms (and/or other available spaces) due to the declining district-wide elementary school enrollment. This plan would call for the placement of one or two grades (two or four classrooms) in four to six of the other elementary schools: Bates, Fiske, Hardy, Schofield, Sprague, and Upham, depending on space availability and other factors.

Late Hunnewell Options 

(January or September 2026 New School Opening):

In these scenarios, the Hunnewell project would wait for the completion of the Hardy/Upham project (currently projected for completion in 2024). These options are not the current recommendation by the School Building Committee. If the Town must wait until the completion of the MSBA project to rebuild Hunnewell, the SBC has expressed a strong preference for Option No. 2 below given the many inherent complexities and negative aspects of running two schools on one site as outlined in Option No. 3.

Swing Space Option 2: Redistricting into six attendance zones at the completion of the Hardy/Upham project, demolishing the old school on the site where the new school is built, and maintaining the building on the site of the closed school to house Hunnewell students. In this case, up to six modular classrooms would be added to the closed school to accommodate the new, larger Hunnewell attendance zone, with a student population of 350 to 375 students. 

Swing Space Option 3:  Maintaining seven attendance zones until the completion of the Hunnewell School, using the new Hardy or new Upham to house that attendance zone’s current school population, while maintaining the old Hardy and Upham, continuing to house the current population at one and the Hunnewell students at the other. This would require operating two independent schools on one site (either Hardy or Upham) during the construction of the Hunnewell school and would delay demolition of the old school on that site until the completion of the Hunnewell project.

What is “Internal Swing Space”?

When an alternate space is needed for a construction project, students are relocated to a temporary location. After an extensive search, the SBC concluded that no traditional swing space option exists for the Hunnewell Project.

A plan has been developed to use existing classrooms in the district’s other elementary schools that could beavailable due to projected declining enrollments.

How long would this transition last?

The primary goal is to limit the time the students would be in a temporary learning environment. The project team will push for between an 18-month to two (2) year duration.

What would internal swing space look like in each school?

Additional classroom space will be created through consolidation made possible by projected declining enrollments within each host school. Existing classrooms and/or spaces may also be re-purposed.


What’s the process for selecting rooms for Hunnewell students?

In order of priority:

1) Class consolidation due to declining enrollment. 2) Reclaiming a former classroom.
3) Converting space into a classroom.
4) Use of either music or art rooms.

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