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Rundlett Middle School proposals revealed

  • Robert Williams, associate with HMFH Architects, talks about one of five site plan options for a new school to replace Rundlett Middle School in Concord during a meeting at Rundlett on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Concord school district Superintendent Terry Forsten takes questions during a meeting that presented site plan options for a new school to replace Rundlett Middle School in Concord at the current school on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • HMFH Architects senior principal Laura Wernick talks about the vision behind plans for a new school to replace Rundlett Middle School in Concord during a meeting at Rundlett on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Concord school district Superintendent Terry Forsten takes questions during a meeting that presented site plan options for a new school to replace Rundlett Middle School in Concord at the current school on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Thursday, September 28, 2017

Concord residents and the city’s school board got an early look at what a new Rundlett Middle School could one day look like on Wednesday.

Architects with HMFH, the Massachusetts firm that designed three new elementary schools for the district in the past decade, gave an overview of the 60-year-old facility’s current condition and presented the board and public with five options to consider.

With cracked caulking, water stains, yellowing floors and chipped brick, Rundlett is starting to show its age. But structurally, it’s in decent shape, Jim Boudreau a project manager at RFS Engineering, a Laconia firm, told the audience.

“The building’s actually held up pretty well for a 60-year-old building, no major issues,” he said.

But building codes have changed a lot in six decades, Boudreau said, which means any renovations would require major work.

Existing plumbing systems need to be replaced; for example, the HVAC system is inefficient, and fire alarm devices aren’t up to code. A renovation would also be disruptive to students, the architects with HMFH and RFS argued, and systems are basically at the end of their life.

Architects presented details on five options, which played with three variables: whether to move Grade 5 to the middle school, whether to partner with the YMCA on the facility, and whether to renovate at least part of the existing building.

Four of the five options have the new middle school moving to where the building’s existing athletic fields are, on the northwestern part of the school’s parcel. New athletic fields would be built between the new school and Abbot-Downing elementary.

Concord School Business Administrator Jack Dunn gave the audience two sets of cost estimates: one based on current bond rates, assuming no grants, state or federal aid, and calculating projected tax impacts on a $250,000 home. The second set of estimates made the same assumptions, but counted school building aid from the state, which Dunn emphasized the state had put a moratorium on and likely wouldn’t provide. The first set of cost estimates ranged from $74 to $84 million, and the second from $50 to $57 million.

This is just the beginning of a conversation, superintendent Terri Forsten told the audience. The board will next consider commissioning a demographic study to figure out what enrollments will likely look like in the future, along with a traffic study. It will also have to consider whether to look at other sites, whether to pursue a partnership with the Y, and which grade configuration is best.

“You’ve given us a lot to think about,” school board member Jim Richards said.

Here are the possibilities the board looked at (cost estimates do not include building aid).

Option 1A – grades 6-8, with Y

Minimal impact to students during construction

Good opportunity to increase field space

Minimal impact to students during construction

Construction duration: 3 years, 4 months

Estimated cost: $74 million, tax impact of $370

Option 1B – grades 6-8, without Y

Best opportunity to increase field space

Smallest impact to students during construction

Construction duration: 3 years, 4 months

Estimated cost: $75 million, tax impact of $375

Option 2A – grades 5-8, with Y

No opportunity to increase field space

Moderate impact to students during construction

Construction duration: 4 years, 4 months

Estimated cost: $84 million, tax impact of $420

Option 2B – grades 5-8, without Y

Minimal to no opportunity to increase field space

Moderate impact to students during construction

Construction duration: 3 years, 4 months

Estimated cost: $84 million, tax impact of $420

Option 3A – grades 6-8, with Y, partial renovation

No opportunity to increase field space

Severe impact to students during construction

Construction duration: 4 years, 4 months

Estimated cost: $77 million, tax impact of $387

(Lola Duffort can be reached at 369-3321 or lduffort@cmonitor.com.)