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Woodland Elementary School Building Project to be Presented at February 10 Special Town Meeting

Woodland Elementary School Building Project Site Plan
Woodland Elementary School Building Project Site Plan

The Town of Milford’s Woodland School Building Committee recently submitted the new elementary school’s Schematic Design and anticipated budget to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). The submission includes schematic design drawings; the project's preliminary construction schedule and two independent cost estimates; the total project budget; and a summary of how the District will deliver its special educational program within the new school. The anticipated total project budget is $60,900,000 which translates to approximately $365 per square foot of space. The project has been designed to be eligible for MSBA reimbursement and the Town of Milford’s financial share of the project will be approximately $34 million. 

The proposed 3-story 132,539 square foot new school will feature: full-sized classrooms and shared small group instruction spaces; a Learning Commons on each floor including project areas, story rooms, a media room, and indoor amphitheater; an “Arts Wing” featuring teaching space for art and music; a cafetorium (a cafeteria with stage for productions); a gymnasium and a wellness center for school and community use; a synthetic turf soccer field; outdoor play areas and structures; separate car and bus drop off loops; sidewalks for walkers and bicyclists; and ample parking spaces for teachers, staff, and visitors. The new school will also feature several “green building” features that reflect the Town of Milford’s commitment to environmental sustainability, and the goal is to achieve a LEED Silver certification. The proposed new school will replace the existing Woodland Elementary School which suffers from overcrowding and deficiencies in major building systems. A video highlighting the existing school’s facility challenges can be viewed by visiting: http://vimeo.com/84399499.

The Building Committee will present the proposed project to Town Meeting Members at a Special Town Meeting scheduled for February 10 at 7:00pm at Milford Town Hall. Town Meeting members will be asked to vote on two articles related to the project – one to amend the Town’s local zoning bylaw, which if approved, would waive height restrictions for public buildings and the second to authorize the local funding for the project.

Over the past several weeks, some residents have inquired about the height of the proposed building design. As part of the schematic design process, the School Building Committee analyzed options for the proposed new school’s building exterior and envelope, including its roof. In November 2013, the School Building Committee presented the project, including a 3 story portion with a pitched roof up to 60’ and site setbacks less than 100’ from residential property lines, to the Town’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). The Town’s local bylaws require the height of school buildings to be no more than 35’ and site setbacks to be at least 100’ from residential property lines. The ZBA voted to approve the project’s height and site setbacks as presented. Shortly following that decision, two appeals were filed by three abutting residents. The School Building Committee considered the input from the abutters through the appeals process and directed the project’s design team to modify the site design to comply with local setback requirements and to reduce the height of the building. To comply with local setback requirements, the building’s footprint and activity areas were shifted on the site and parking lots were redesigned. The height of the building was also reduced significantly by moving from a pitched roof to a flat roof system. The height of the main academic portion of the building is now approximately 42’, although significant portions, such as the gymnasium and cafetorium, are below the 35’ bylaw requirement. 

The Milford Public Schools District is also hosting an information session for Town Meeting members and the general public on Wednesday, January 29 at 6:00pm at Woodland Elementary School (10 North Vine Street).

Please contact Aldo Cecchi, Woodland School Building Committee Chairperson or Robert Tremblay, Superintendent of Milford Public Schools with any specific questions or comments that you may have about the project. Aldo Cecchi can be reached by email at acecchi@comcast.net. Superintendent Tremblay can be reached by email at rtremblay@milfordma.com or by phone at 508-478-1101. Up to date information about the project can also be found online at: http://tinyurl.com/cb8e6ft  

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Cappuccino February 10, 2014 at 11:54 AM
The plan entails abandonment of Middle School East and demolition of Woodland. This is NOT an Eco-friendly approach. Reuse, recycle, refurbish in a time of economic uncertainty would be better. There are townspeople who live paycheck to paycheck. The Town Meeting Members should consider ALL whom they represent, not just the politically connected. Nothing portends the future than the past. The old St. Mary's Elementary Building was left to the elements, the same goes for the old Stacy school. Milford poorly maintains it's presently occupied schools. We can envision what will become of Middle School East. And I wonder why the committee didn't have an open house of THAT building. Everyone wants that "new school smell". Unfortunately, like a new car, that "new" wears out before the payments do! Reuse, recycle, reclaim, restore, repurpose. NOT Ravage & ruin. This throw away society is out of control.

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